Description of Historic Place
The Blue Moon, located at 1677 Snyder's Road East, is situated on the southeast corner of Snyder's Road East and Notre Dame Drive, in the Village of Petersburg, now the Township of Wilmot. The property consists of a two-storey brick inn that was constructed circa 1855.
The property was designated by the Township of Wilmot for its heritage value and interest under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-law 88-46).
In 1824, the Canada Company bought land to establish a highway, linking Guelph to Goderich. That highway, which became known as Huron Road, because it linked its travellers to Lake Huron, was constructed from Guelph to Preston, then through Strasburg, Haysville and Stratford, and on to Goderich. As a result of the construction of Huron Road, a number of inns and taverns sprang up throughout Southwestern Ontario, to meet the needs of travellers.
One, such inn, was the Blue Moon, erected circa 1855, by John Ernst, in the Village of Petersburg. In addition to being the inn's founder and proprietor, Ernst was actively involved in the political and social life of Petersburg and Wilmot Township. During his lifetime, Ernst held the positions of first Postmaster of Petersburg, in 1840, Chairman of the Wilmot Township Board of Commissioners, in 1843, Councillor with the Wellington District Council, from 1842 to 1850, Township Deputy Reeve, in 1850 and Township Reeve, from 1851 to 1853, and 1857 to 1859, among other significant posts.
Another significant owner of the Blue Moon was Frederick Holwell. Holwell bought the Blue Moon from Ernst, who was experiencing a period of financial hardship. Ernst's financial difficulties were, partly, attributed to the arrival of the Grand Trunk Railway, which resulted in a reduction of traffic on the Huron Road. Holwell was also actively involved in the community. In addition to serving as Township Auditor, from 1878 to 1883, Holwell also served as Township Reeve, from 1883 to 1889, Waterloo County Warden, in 1888, and Township Clerk and Treasurer, in 1900.
The Blue Moon has been in continuous use for over 150 years, and continues to reflect the evolution of the social and commercial life, of the rural community, of the Village of St. Petersburg.
The Blue Moon has a large rectangular plan that is reminiscent of Georgian architecture. The inn exhibits a balanced composition and a gabled roof, and is almost symmetrical, in design. The façade, which faces onto Snyder's Road, features four original entrances, a brick chimney and 15 double-hung 8 over 8 windows. The simplicity of the Blue Moon's design and materials reflects the functional nature of the building, and the time period in which it was constructed.
The Blue Moon building was enlarged by an extension to the west, in 1866. It was constructed by local resident, John Martini. The materials and design of the extension were in keeping with the design and materials of the original building. Similarities can be seen between the Blue Moon Inn and Martini's own home, the nearby Martini House, which was constructed in 1866, and is also a heritage property. Another addition to the Blue Moon was made in 1951. Throughout, all of the additions, the structure's original integrity has been maintained.
Sources: Township of Wilmot By-law 88-46, 1988; The Blue Moon Hotel, Petersburg, no date.
Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the Blue Moon include its:
- date stone on west elevation which reads, “1855”
- proximity to the historic Huron Road.
- rectangular plan
- balanced composition
- brown-brick construction
- gabled roof
- four original doors on the front façade
- 15 double-hung 8 over 8 windows
- brick chimney
- 1866 addition