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Polley's Livery Stable

35, South Street, Goderich, Town of, Ontario, N7A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1985/10/11

Of note are the parapet and unusually-shaped gable roof.; Kayla Jonas, 2007.
Southwest Corner, Polley's Livery Stable, 2007.
Featured is the 1878 boomtown façade addition.; Kayla Jonas, 2007.
Façade, Polley's Livery Stable, 2007.
Of note are the square arched windows and massive arched entranceway.; Kayla Jonas, 2007.
Southeast Corner, Polley's Livery Stable, 2007

Other Name(s)

Polley's Livery Stable
The Livery
35 South Street

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/10/27

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Polley's Livery Stable is located at 35 South Street, on the east side of South Street between Elgin Avenue and the Courthouse Square, in downtown Goderich. The two-storey cut-stone building was constructed as a blacksmith shop in circa 1840, with later additions for use as a livery.

The property was designated, by the Town of Goderich, in 1985, for its historical or architectural value or interest, under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-law 83 of 1985).

Heritage Value

Located within the historic shopping, business and entertainment district, just south of the Courthouse Square, Polley's Livery Stable occupies a prominent position in the Town. Historically, the stable was in the ideal location to run a livery. Hotels were found in the Square and on both corners of South Street which provided easy access to the harbour and train stations. Today, the Livery stands as a testament to the development of Goderich in the mid-19th century and a fine example of an adaptive re-use for one of the most historic buildings in the Port of Goderich.

Polley's Livery Stable is associated with early Goderich settler A.M. Polley. Polley immigrated to Canada from New Hampshire in circa 1860, eventually arriving in Goderich, where he operated a livery and stagecoach operation from the livery for forty years. Polley and his dappled gray horses, Polley's Spots, brought travellers from the Town's two railway stations and the harbour to the centre of town, most often to the Bedford Hotel or the British Exchange Hotel. Threat of demolition in 1977 brought the Livery back into the public eye and the Goderich Arts Foundation, now dedicated to using the Livery as a focal point for the promotion of the arts in Goderich, was formed. The Livery now houses one of Canada's longest running community theatre groups, the Goderich Little Theatre.

Polley's Livery Stable is representative of the flamboyant and elaborate boomtown growth of Goderich in the mid-19th century. The stable was constructed in three portions beginning with the field-stone rear in the 1840s for Jacob Seegmiller's blacksmith shop. The second and third portions were added by A.M. Polley for his livery. The boomtown style of architecture is most evident on the ornate façade which was constructed in 1878. The cut-stone façade features an unusually-shaped gable, an ostentatious parapet and square arched windows which were uncommon for the area. The stone-faced south elevation features twin gables and is especially interesting for it upper doors which were originally used for loading hay. Also of note are the wood interior roof beams that once acted to support an upper-storey used for hay storage and the massive front entrance, which once accommodated horses and carriages.

Source: Town of Goderich By-law 83 of 1985.

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of Polley's Livery Stable include its:
- entablature reading: “The Livery”
- field-stone and cut-stone construction
- rectangular plan
- gable roof
- parapet
- wide recessed arched entrance way
- upper doors on the south elevation
- square arched windows
- stone sills
- stone arched voussoirs
- interior wood roof beams
- location south of the Square in downtown Goderich, with easy access from the harbour and train stations
- proximity to the Bedford Hotel




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (ON)

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1985/01/01 to 1985/01/01
1878/01/01 to 1878/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation

Function - Category and Type


Auditorium, Cinema or Nightclub


Food Supply
Barn, Stable or Other Animal Housing

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Town of Goderich Town Hall 57 West Street Goderich, Ontario N7A 2K5

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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