Description of Historic Place
The Munro House is a two-and-a-half storey brick building located at 5 Ormond Street South, in the City of Thorold. Of eclectic design it was constructed in 1868 and is a landmark in the neighbourhood.
Munro House was designated by the City of Thorold under By-law 75-2002.
The Munro House is associated with James Munro and his descendants. Arriving in 1844 from Scotland, James Munro began working for merchants Whan and Mclean in 1846, managing the large department store on Front Street, which also contained his residence. After a fire in 1866 gutted the building, Munro undertook to rebuild the store and residence as two separate structures, choosing land on Ormond Street South.
Munro was an ambitious entrepreneur and also established a jointly held cotton factory, in 1847, with locally prominent citizens Jacob Keefer, Rev. Thomas Brock Fuller, John Brown and Samuel Zimmerman. Cotton from this factory won a prize at the provincial exhibition, being recognised as the first cotton factory in Ontario. He also operated a wood and coal yard at Lock 25, from 1870 to the mid-1880s.
Community involvement was very important to Munro, and as a member of St. Andrew's Presbyterian congregation, Munro was very active in the building of the first church on Ormond Street in 1859. He also served as a councillor, an assessor, and an auditor for the Thorold and Welland County, and was the first treasurer of the Mechanic's Institute (later the Thorold Public Library).
Munro took two years to build his house. His eclectic design incorporated early Italianate, Classical Revival and Neoclassical style elements. The home features an open porch, round-topped upper-storey windows, a stepped side gable and an enclosed side porch with a balcony over it. The property was fenced with a decorative iron fence, typical of the era. Munro House has been the family home to many Munro generations, being in their possession until 2001. It continues to be a private family residence.
A local landmark, the Munro House is located a few metres from St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, in which James Munro helped to build. Both buildings are recognized for their heritage value through formal designation. They provide a visual reminder of the streetscape in the mid-1800s.
Source: City of Thorold under By-law 75-2002.
Character defining elements that reflect the heritage value of the Munro House include its:
- original iron fence, which surrounds the property
- semi-circular windows set on stone sills
- semi-elliptical window openings capped with brick hoods
- steep roof and gable parapets which function as fire-walls
- front and side porches
- brick construction of three bricks thick
- front door which faces south, where a driveway once allowed carriages to pull up
- prominent location on Ormond St. South
- proximity to St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, also a heritage designated property