Former Walkerville Town Hall
350, Devonshire Road, City of Windsor, Ontario, N8Y, Canada
Former Walkerville Town Hall
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The former Walkerville Town Hall on Devonshire Road is an early 20th Century, two and one-half storey red brick structure accentuated with concrete quoins.
A blend of Renaissance Revival and Classical Revival styles, it is recognized for its heritage value by City of Windsor Bylaw 12398, 1995.
Construction of this building in 1904 reflected the growing importance and prosperity of Walkerville, which had achieved town status by 1890. Although the architectural firm of Mason and Rice had been favoured by Hiram Walker, his sons turned to the now-independent Albert Kahn to design the first Walkerville Town Hall and Post Office. The building was erected on the foundation of the original St. Mary's Church (1871) on Riverside Drive (formerly Sandwich Street), just east of the palatial Hiram Walker and Sons Ltd. Head Office (1894). Victor Williamson, Walkerville's main builder and contractor at the time, oversaw the construction.
Following relocation of the municipal offices to Willistead Manor in 1921, the building served briefly as a train station, before being acquired for offices by James Barclay and Co. Ltd., a Division of Walker Distillery. When demolition was imminent in 1995, it was purchased by the 'Preserve Old Walkerville Committee' and moved around the corner to Devonshire Road, where the original coursed stone foundation was reworked on the new site. Ironically, Albert Kahn, had originally planned to locate the town hall near its present location, before deciding to re-use the old church foundation. In 1996, the building was privately acquired and restored.
The building's striking design by renowned Detroit architect Albert Kahn is a blend of Renaissance Revival and Classical Revival styles. The structure's solid configuration, belt courses, angled quoins, and burst pediment at the front entrance are Classical Revival details, while its harmonious proportions and calm and elegant facade reflect typical Renaissance Revival styling. Although a civic building, it incorporates several residential design features which also appear in Kahn's house designs in Walkerville. These include the dormer windows on the roof and the symmetrical arrangement of the windows on the street side.
Although a town hall for only 17 years, the building's threatened demolition in 1995 acted as a catalyst to raise awareness of the importance of preserving Windsor's built heritage. The 'Preserve Old Walkerville Committee' evolved into the Windsor Region Branch of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario (ACO), a strong advocate for heritage conservation in the area.
Construction of the Town Hall in 1904 was an important addition to Walkerville's early commercial core, centred in the Riverside Drive/Devonshire Road area. In its present location on Devonshire Road, this building complements a streetscape that includes many other residential and commercial heritage properties.
Sources: City of Windsor Bylaw 12398, 1995; Building Analysis Form, May 4, 1996; and City of Windsor Heritage Planner's files.
Character defining elements that express the heritage value include its:
- solid and symmetrical configuration in red brick, with concrete quoins and belt courses, on a stone foundation
- English bond masonry with flat-arched voussoirs
- red tile mansard roof
- three dormer windows, one in the front slope of the hipped roof and two on the sides
- double-hung windows, which replicate the original, with the front windows paired four-on-four and four-on-six complete with keystones
- front entrance with burst pediment
- location in the heart of early Walkerville
- close proximity to other heritage properties, including several Richardsonian Romanesque semi-detached residences (circa 1890), the Crown Inn (1893), and the former Walkerville Post Office (1914).
Local Governments (ON)
Ontario Heritage Act
Municipal Heritage Designation (Part IV)
Theme - Category and Type
- Governing Canada
- Government and Institutions
Function - Category and Type
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Office or Office Building
- Town or City Hall
Architect / Designer
Windsor Branch, ACO
Location of Supporting Documentation
Office of Heritage Planner, City of Windsor
Cross-Reference to Collection