Description of Historic Place
Built in circa 1855, the Bridgetender's House is a small, one-and-a-half-storey building with a one storey rear addition, a Greek Revival gable front arrangement and Neoclassical style front entrance. The house features an open air veranda with wrought iron posts. It is situated at 44 Merritt Street in Welland.
The property is designated under City of Welland By-law No. 10973.
The lot on which the Bridgetender's House is located, was originally part of a pioneer farm owned by the Shotwells, one of Welland's earliest families, who settled here in 1800. William Page, who built the house in 1855, was a United Empire Loyalist from Vermont who was employed as a bookkeeper, a nurseryman and then became a local councillor for Welland, in 1877 and 1878. Under the later ownership of Rebeca F. Winters, in 1856, the house was rented to Benjamin Diffen, a United Empire Loyalist who was a cooper and an operator of a local tavern, serving, like Page, as a Welland Village councillor in 1869. The property was later acquired by Elijah Shotwell, and his second wife Eunice continued to live in the house after his death in 1899. The house is named in honour of Eunice Shotwell's second husband Thomas Lord Box, who served as Welland's bridgetender in the 1860s. The house saw a number of subsequent owners and tenants including Gerald E. Nash, owner of the Ford dealership and Howard A. Snelling, a well-respected educator and principal of Welland High School for 21 years.
The house features an eclectic blend of mid-nineteenth century architecture, with a Greek revival gable, at the front and a neoclassical front entrance. Leading to the entrance is a beautiful open air veranda with wrought iron posts. The six over six paned windows exhibit Neoclassical or Adam style influence, and the sixteen pane French doors on the south and east sides, still retain much of their original glass and hardware, are of Regency styling. The house's interior woodwork is largely retained, displaying typical designs of the 1850's.
Source: “Bridgetender's House”, Heritage Welland Committee, City of Welland, 2006; City of Welland By-law No. 10973.
Character defining elements that reflect the heritage value include its:
- open air veranda with wrought iron posts
- Neoclassical style front entrance
- Greek revival front gable
- sixteen paned French doors on the south and east facades, some with original glass and hardware
- location on Merritt Street, situated in close proximity to the Fourth Welland Canal