The Kraft House
3347 Bowen Road
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Kraft House is located at 3347 Bowen Road, on the southwest corner of Bowen and Winger Roads, in the Town of Fort Erie. The two storey house is situated on the outskirts of Fort Erie in a rural setting with open fields beyond.
The Kraft House was recognized in 2003 for its heritage value under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act by the Town of Fort Erie (By-law 101-2003).
The Kraft House at 3347 Bowen Road is primarily recognized for its historical association with James Lewis Kraft, founder of J.L. Kraft & Bros Company (later Kraft Foods Inc). The home stands as a reminder of Kraft's humble beginnings on a dairy farm in rural Ontario and is valued for its association with an internationally recognized company.
Born on December 17, 1874, to parents George and Minerva Kraft, James Lewis Kraft was the second of eleven children. James was educated locally and worked nearby at Ferguson's general store in Fort Erie starting at the age of 18. In 1902, at the age of 28, Kraft moved to Buffalo where he invested in a cheese company. In 1903 he moved to Chicago Illinois to manage a branch of the company and while there, his partners eased him out of the business. Stranded in Chicago with little money, he obtained a horse and wagon and began purchasing cheese wholesale each day and then reselling the cheese to local merchants. The new venture was successful and by 1909, several of his brothers had joined the company as permanent employees (Charles H., John H., Fred, and Norman). In that year, the business was incorporated under the name of J.L. Kraft & Bros. Co., with James L. Kraft as the president.
Kraft developed a revolutionary process, patented in 1916, for pasteurizing cheese so that it would resist spoilage and could be shipped long distances. The company grew quickly, expanding into Canada in 1919. James Kraft died on February 16, 1953, during the company's 50th year, leaving behind one of North America's largest food companies.
Source: Town of Fort Erie, By-law 101-2003
Character defining elements that reflect the heritage value of Kraft House include its:
- recognition as James Lewis Kraft's birthplace and childhood home
- location in rural Fort Erie
- two storey farm house
Local Governments (ON)
Ontario Heritage Act
Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)
1874/01/01 to 1874/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Trade and Commerce
- Peopling the Land
Function - Category and Type
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Town of Fort Erie Designated Heritage Property Records
1 Municipal Drive
Fort Erie, Ontario
Cross-Reference to Collection