Description of Historic Place
Woodlawn Place, located at 225422 Main Street West, is situated on the south side of Main Street West at the west end of the Village of Otterville, in the Township of Norwich. The property consists of a single-storey, octagonal, board and batten house that was constructed in 1861.
The property was designated in 1977, by the Township of Norwich, for its heritage value, under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-law 84-77).
Woodlawn Place is associated with Thomas Wright, a once local, prominent inventor who designed and lived in the building, in the mid-19th century. Nature influenced Wright's design and the home's shape is reflective of that in its octagonal plan. Wright was also influenced by Dr. Orson Fowler, whose 1853 book, “The Octagonal House –A Home For All”, encouraged the practicality of octagonal dwellings. Fowler argues that these homes were easier to heat and made greater use of the sun's rays.
Woodlawn Place is a fine example of the Regency Cottage style of architecture although, its octagonal shape makes it unusual. The building is of plank construction with board and batten siding. The overall plan consists of a 45-foot octagon with a 20 foot by 20-foot wing that is situated to form a trapezoidal umbrage at the side of the house.
Typical of the Regency style, Woodlawn Place features a wide roof overhang and deep fascia boards. The front door is flanked with sidelights and Doric pilasters, complimented by a simulated entablature above. The wing is decorated with regency treillage.
Woodlawn Place was originally constructed at Lot 7, on Concession 8, in the former Township of South Norwich. As a means of preservation, it was relocated to Main Street West, where its historic association with Norwich could be celebrated. It is now located adjacent to several heritage resources, including, the former Grand Trunk Railway Station and the Pine Street Burial Ground.
Source: Township of Norwich By-law 84-77; Township of Norwich LACAC book, With Mortar and Pine.
Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of Woodlawn Place include its:
- plank construction and board and batten siding
- 4544-foot octagon floor plan
- 20-foot by-20-foot wing forming a trapezoidal umbrage
- treillage of the wing porch
- wide roof overhang and deep fascia boards
- side lights, Doric pilasters and simulated entablature
- central octagonal chimney and octagonal roofline
- siting in close proximity to the former Grand Trunk Railway Station and Pine Street Burial Ground