Description of Historic Place
The Carr-Millar-McMillan Block is located at 31 and 33 Front Street, with a flat roof extension that forms 35 Front Street. Located amidst a larger block of businesses on Front Street South, in downtown Thorold, the c. 1868 Carr-Millar-McMillan Block is a two-storey red brick building with a gable roof.
The property is designated for its heritage value by the City of Thorold under By-law 20-2006.
The Carr-Millar-McMillan Block is representative of Thorold's commercial development, which is centred mainly along Front Street. Development in this area began shortly after the opening of the First Welland Canal, in 1829. By c. 1868, Thomas D. Scott, a confectioner and baker, and George F. Florey, a merchant and miller, built this block. It has been a consistent part of the commercial district in downtown Thorold ever since.
The building was once known as Carr's Block, after a bookseller named Matthew X. Carr, who also sold stationary and musical goods in the building, in 1877. James Millar, of the Millar House, purchased the property in 1883 and sold gentleman's furnishings and dry goods, living above the store with his family. His son David E. Millar, a Councillor and Mayor of Thorold, managed the building after James' death, in 1905. Between 1922 and 1960, the McMillan family owned the property, and Dr. William H. McMillan used the downstairs for his office, while his family lived upstairs. Dr. McMillan was Thorold's Mayor and was elected as Member of Parliament for the Welland riding, in 1951. Several bookstores occupied 33 Front Street South after 1948, including Martin's Book Store, Ker's Book and Stationary Store, and Tatarnic's Book Store.
Despite changes to the structure since its construction, including several alterations made during the 1940s, the building continues to contribute to the linear connectivity of the streetscape. The original building forming 31 and 33 Front Street South is a brick, two-storey building with a gable roof. A flat-roof extension forms 35 Front Street, constructed a few years after the original building, in place of a former alleyway that extended to the rear. 33 Front Street South has a recessed central door flanked by windows that are angled from the street to the door. Modernizations added to the original structure during the 1940s and 1950s included new second storey windows and a raised roofline, among several other updates.
The block is located just south of several other properties designated for their heritage value including the Macartney Drug Store and the Dominion Government Building, also located on Front Street, making it an integral part of Thorold's collection of historic buildings in the downtown sector.
Sources: City of Thorold By-law 80-2006: Notice of Intention to Designate; Report: 31, 33, 35 Front Street South, Thorold, ON. Heritage Thorold LACAC, July 2006.
Character defining elements that reflect the block's heritage value include its:
- location in an area of early commercial development in Thorold
- linear connectivity with the downtown streetscape
- proximity to several other heritage properties including the Macartney Drug Store and Dominion Government Building
- c.1868 red brick construction
- recessed central doors with angled windows on the first storey
- addition at 35 Front Street South enclosing a former alleyway, constructed a few years after the original building