Description of Historic Place
The Adelaide Hunter Hoodless Homestead, located at 359 Blue Lake Road is situated on the north side of the road, west of Brant Road (Highway 24) in St. George. The one-and-a-half-storey wooden clapboard building was constructed circa 1830.
The property was designated by the Township of South Dumfries for its heritage value under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (Bylaw 34-83).
The Adelaide Hunter Hoodless Homestead is significant for its association with the Women's Institute and the achievements of Adelaide Hunter Hoodless. Adelaide was born in 1857 and grew up on the homestead. In 1881 she married John Hoodless, a furniture manufacturer in Hamilton. In 1889 their youngest son, John Harold died from drinking impure milk. This tragic incident inspired Adelaide into taking action. Quoted as saying “Educate a boy and you educate a man, but educate a girl and you educate a family”, Adelaide championed the need for women's education in the field of domestic science.
In 1887 she was invited to speak at the Stoney Creek Farmer's Institute on women's night. She addressed the need for women's education in a rural context and the need for a forum for women to communicate. This speech was the catalyst for the foundation of the Women's Institute. Their first meeting was held in February 1897 at the Women's Institute of Saltfleet Township and the movement quickly spread across Canada. Currently, the Women's Institute operates worldwide and has approximately seven million members.
During her life Adelaide Hunter Hoodless had a role in founding the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) on a national basis, the Victorian Order of Nurses (VON), the National Council of Women, and the MacDonald Institute in Guelph. She also succeeded in having domestic science courses introduced in 32 Ontario educational centres and wrote the first textbook on the topic. Adelaide Hunter Hoodless' contributions have had a profound and lasting influence on Canadian society.
The homestead, situated in a rural setting, is fundamentally unchanged since Adelaide Hunter Hoodless' childhood. It was purchased by the Federated Women's Institute of Canada (FWIC) in 1959. Its use as a museum commemorates the achievements of Adelaide and represents the living conditions experienced by many women in the early to mid-19th century in rural Ontario.
The Adelaide Hunter Hoodless Homestead was built circa 1830. It has a wood frame covered in clapboard and a medium pitched central gable. The symmetrical main façade with pedimented central front door features a rectangular transom.
The interior arrangement is typical of the time, having a central stair hall with two rooms on either side. The first floor features a parlour and bedroom on the west and the kitchen and dining room on the east. The second floor has four bedrooms with sloped ceilings. The Women's Institute added a curator's wing in 1979, and its location is consistent with the design and location of kitchen wings which were typical in the 19th century.
Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Agenda Paper, Adelaide Hunter Hoodless Homestead, 1995; Mrs. T.H. Howes, Adelaide Hunter Hoodless Homestead, Federated Women's Institute of Canada, 1960
Adelaide Hunter Hoodless Homestead National Historic Side Pamphlet.
Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the Adelaide Hunter Hoodless Homestead include its:
- one-and-a-half-storey frame construction clad in clapboard
- simple gable roof with a centre-gable over the front entranceway
- symmetry of the main façade
- central hall floor plan
- 9 over 9 sash windows on the front facade
- semi-circular headed sash window in the centre gable