Home / Accueil

Old Post Office

4189, Petrolia Line, Petrolia, Ontario, N0N, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1997/03/10

A view of Petrolia's Old Post Office, on the east side.; Image taken June 7th, 2010.
Old Post Office East Side
Historic colour post card of the Old Post Office in Petrolia.; Municipal Heritage Committee, 2010.
Old Post Office Petrolia
View of the Old Post Office from Petrolia's main street, the Petrolia Line.; Image taken with permission by Martin Dillon, June 2010.
Petrolia's Old Post Office

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1892/01/01 to 1894/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2010/12/16

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Petrolia's Old Post Office, construction completed in the spring of 1894, is located on the town's main street, the Petrolia Line. The three storey, Romanesque style, brick structure has a variety of attractive architectural features. It served as the community post office until 1964, when a new post office was constructed.

The structure was designated by the Town of Petrolia under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-Law 1997-16) for its cultural and architectural value.

Heritage Value

The Old Post Office has served the Town of Petrolia through a variety of functions since the 1890s. Initially, the Post Office and Offices of Inland Revenue and Customs were on the main floor; the residence of the Postmaster was on the second floor; and the residence of the caretaker was on the third floor. An annex was added to the south side of the building, which served as a warehouse for Customs purposes and the collection of Provincial and Federal taxes. Eventually the second storey was converted to office space while the caretaker continued to live on the premises. The Petrolia Legion utilized space in the Old Post Office until the completion of its own facilities on King Street. After WWI, one of the small back rooms was converted into a “Militia Room.” A variety of important government institutions have used the Old Post Office.

In 1964, post office operations were relocated to new facilities and a number of commercial establishments have operated there since. Most recently, the building was purchased by Lambton County Development Services, an agency that provides employment, housing, and other services to individuals with development disabilities in Lambton County. Renovations began in 2008, and the Old Post Office reopened with affordable housing for six tenants and several commercial enterprises to help generate revenue for the LCDS (including a catering business, a gift shop, and an ice cream shop). The Old Post Office retains its familiar moniker, as it is known and loved by residents of Petrolia, and continues to serve an important function for the community, albeit of a different flavour.

Construction of the Old Post Office began in January, 1892. London architect Thomas Fuller submitted the design and was awarded the Federal commission. As a result of Fuller's award and design, numerous similar structures were built during the 1890s in other towns throughout South-western Ontario. Joshua Garrett of Petrolia was the building's principal contractor. The rich architectural features and elegance of the building reflect Petrolia's affluence during the oil boom. Its Romanesque style is evident through the use of rusticated stone and red brick, and the bold employment of the “Romanesque Arch.”

Source: Town of Petrolia Municipal Office: By-law No. 16 of 1997.

Character-Defining Elements

Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the Old Post Office include its:
- Romanesque style of civic architecture, uniquely North American and made popular by American architect H.H. Richardson
- “Romanesque Arch” (round-headed arches over doors and windows)
- rusticated stone and red brick
- smooth, wide brackets under the eaves
- restored interior curved oak staircase
- restored stone and brickwork throughout the building
- restored original windows
- prominent location downtown




Recognition Authority

Local Governments (ON)

Recognition Statute

Ontario Heritage Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1964/01/01 to 1964/01/01
2008/01/01 to 2008/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design
Governing Canada
Government and Institutions
Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation

Function - Category and Type



Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment
Customs Building
Multiple Dwelling
Post Office

Architect / Designer

London architect Thomas Fuller


Contractor Joshua Garrett of Petrolia

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Town of Petrolia Municipal Office. Photocopies of pertinent information also on file at the Oil Museum of Canada.

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




Related Places



Advanced SearchAdvanced Search
Nearby Places