Description of Historic Place
Built in 1870, the Glenview Mansion is a remarkable example of Italianate domestic architecture and occupies a large lot on a hill at 4223 Terrace Avenue. This large residence consists of a square-plan main building with two rear wings and a projecting central bay capped by a closed pediment and bay windows.
The property is designated by the City of Niagara Falls under By-law No. 2003-137.
It's size, location, design and occupancy by leading businessmen and politicians made Glenview a popular gathering place for many prominent citizens. In particular, John Ferguson entertained many wealthy guests at various balls and garden parties, making Glenview Mansion buzz with social activity during his ownership.
Glenview Mansion is associated with three of its early owners, each of whom played a significant role in the growth and prosperity of Niagara Falls. John Drew, Glenview's builder and first occupant, was a successful mason and contractor who was highly involved in community life of the Town of Clifton/Niagara Falls. Born in Okehampton, England, Drew arrived in 1854 and gained contracts to work on the enlargement of the Welland Canal and on railroads in Canada and the United States. Drew also served on the Clifton (and later Niagara Falls) town councils.
Another notable owner associated with the house is John Ferguson, who found wealth in constructing railroads, canals and water works for the improvement of the Niagara region and served as a Member of Parliament for Welland County from 1881-1891. Ferguson helped develop tourism at the Whirlpool Rapids Park, and it was under his occupancy that Glenview became a prosperous agricultural estate and social venue.
Robert Peter Slater, Glenview's third owner, was a wealthy businessman and developer with long established ties to Niagara. After purchasing the Glenview lands in 1893, Slater became mayor of the City from 1899 to 1901 and played a significant role in developing hydroelectric power from the Canadian side of the Falls.
Glenview's imposing size and solid masonry construction compliments its stately presence as a mansion. At two-storeys high with a low hip roof, the building commands attention as a fine example of Italianate architecture. The main building is a square-plan construction with two rear wings. The building's original brick exterior exists beneath scored pink stucco. John Drew also used brick to fashion the decorative elements of the house, including three sided projecting bay windows flanking the front entrance, the raised quoins on all exterior corners of the building, and the curved hood mouldings over the window and door openings. Three massive chimney stacks remain at the northeast, southeast and southwest corners of the house's main section. The majority of the house's windows and doors have segmented arches, and the moulded door surround, transom bar and transom light are all original. Today, the house looks much like it did as a wealthy country manor when it was first constructed. These stunning architectural details contributes to its heritage value.
Sources: By-law No. 2003-137, Planning and Development, City of Niagara Falls, 2003; “Glenview”, Scott Tufford, Planning and Development, City of Niagara Falls, 2003
Character defining elements that reflect the building's heritage value include its:
- size and massing of the building: as reflected in the Italianate domestic styling from the mid-Victorian period
- its location on top of the hill emphasizing the imposing size of the building
- solid masonry construction
- original Italianate details such as the hip roof and decorative mouldings
- three multiple flue chimneys
- tongue and groove soffit and paired brackets
- original moulded window and door surrounds and window sash
- transom and brick quoins