Manse 46 Church St.

No churches?

If you are wondering how Church Street  got its name, when there is no church on the street, the answer is that a block of four large Canada Company lots were clearly marked Presbyterian Church on the 1848 map of Stratford.

Two of the lots were on Church Street  and formed part of the burial ground for the original St. Andrew's Church of Scotland, which stood near the corner of what are now St. Andrew and Birmingham streets.

The original log church faced St. Andrew Street and was on the site now occupied by the present St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church. It is natural to assume that when Stratford's pioneers came to worship at their first kirk, many of them probably entered from Church Street and left their horses, wagons and sleighs at the rear of the church near the burial grounds.

In that St. Andrew's was the first church built in Stratford, there is no doubt it was an important landmark and gathering place for the 40 individuals who comprised the population of the village in 1838, six years after Stratford was founded. Other buildings in the village at that time, finished and unfinished, totaled 22. Among them were a tavern, five stores and a grist mill.

The cornerstone for the foundation of St. Andrew's was not laid until July 16, 1840. But members of the tiny congregation had been meeting as early as 1835 wherever and whenever they could gather. That cornerstone was not destined to stay in place long, because in 1844 there was a serious split in the church. The first minister, Rev. Daniel Allar, took off with nearly all the important records and church papers, including those that gave the congregation title to church and property. The church members who remained were compelled to pull out the foundation stone in 1847 and retrieve documents to prove to the Canada Company commissioner, Thomas Mercer Jones, that they should retain title to their church.

Eventually a manse was built adjacent to the church, but the property was sold to the city for $800 in 1902 as the site for the new public library. By then, the burial ground was no longer in use and a new manse had been built at 46 Church St. With notes from Stanford Dingman

Robert Lean, historical property


When Roderick Lean lived in Shakespeare, he worked as a blacksmith. According to the List of Canadian Patents 1824-1872, he was granted a patent for “a new and useful machine, namely: ‘A punching die,’” in August 1868.


In the fall of 1868, he and his wife, Chloe Belfry, moved to Stratford . In October of that year, he was granted another patent, for “a new, useful and improved agricultural implement, to be called R. Lean’s combined gang plough and cultivator. The Leans bought three lots on Church Street on which they built a house and two buildings for his business. 

27 Church Street

According to the 1871 Perth and Waterloo Co. Gazetteer, R. Lean was engaged in general blacksmithing and the manufacture of agricultural implements. His buildings were 50 by 25 feet, and 40 by 20 feet, and he had eight “hands” in his employ.


A short time later, the family moved to Mansfield, Ohio, where the Roderick Lean Manufacturing Co. became part of a more extensive business. Eventually, about half the agricultural implements made there were exported to a large market in Russia and countries in Eastern Europe. Source: Historical Plaque Properties

James Corcoran, historic place

It was  James Corcoran (see Corcoran Drive), a prominent Stratford businessman, who had the impressive house built at 208 Church St., in 1889. He is notable for having served as a director, vice-president and president of the British Mortgage Loan Co. John A. Davidson, a prominent Stratford lawyer, purchased the house in 1893. Davidson was also involved with the British Mortgage Loan Co., as a manager.

The house is representative of late Victorian houses in Stratford. Some defining elements of the Victorian style of architecture include the irregular design, multiple rooflines decorated with bargeboards, decorative brickwork and sandstone headers and sills. Front doors added to the house in 1900 remain with intact bevelled glass. Of note is the circular-shaped porch and veranda. Also of note is the decorative stained glass over the exterior doors and front bay windows. Source: Canada's Historical Places

208 Church St.

Rev. Daniel Deacon

Daniel Deacon, son of William and Anne Deacon, was born in about 1841 in Chinguacousy, near Toronto. The family would eventually include six boys and two girls. William Deacon, was born in Ireland in 1804, Anne in New York State. They were married in 1838 and moved to a farm in Chinguacousy where William took up farming.


By the 1850s, the family had moved to Huron North, where Daniel attended the Goderich grammar school. He later studied at Trinity College, University of Toronto, for his bachelor of arts and master of arts. After graduation, he was a master at Hellmuth Boy’s College in London, Ont., an institution founded by Bishop Dean Isaac Hellmuth. Since 1881 the college has been part of Western University.

157 Church St.

Daniel Deacon was ordained in 1866 and became the rector at Port Rowan, Bothwell and Windsor. In 1870 he married Maria Helen Ball. Between 1871 and 1879, the couple had five children, all boys. Maria died shortly after the birth of their last son. Three of their sons eventually moved to British Columbia. Another became a well-known Stratford doctor.

In the 1881 census for Windsor, Daniel Deacon appeared as a widower with five sons. A year later, he married Emma Caroline Moore of Windsor. They had no children of their own. Soon after his second marriage, Rev. Deacon moved his family to Stratford, where he became the rector at Home Memorial Church at the corner of  West Gore and Home streets. Originally called the  Home Mission Chapel, it was built in 1876 on land donated by Judge J. Daniel Lizars (see Hamilton Street). It was named Home Memorial in honour of Home Lizars.

In 1899 he had the house at 157 Church St. built for his family. The Stratford Evening Herald described it as “a building of red pressed brick, 30 by 52 feet, which will be both handsome and comfortable . . . the gables will be filled in with cut shingles in the Queen Anne style so popular now.” It is interesting that the carpentry work was done by John L. Youngs, whose construction company was erecting the new city hall at the same time. The architect, Harry Powell, had also won a competition for his design of the new city hall. City council, however, turned down his proposal in favour of another architect’s work.

When St. Paul’s Anglican Church opened on Jan. 14, 1906, Rev. Deacon was the church’s first rector. His wife, Emma, was one of the lay workers who contributed to the success of the new parish. In 1909, due to failing health, he was compelled to retire, but was able to watch he sons begin successful careers, marry and have children. One of those sons, Dr. George Reginald Deacon (see Deacon Street) attended his father in his final days. Rev. Daniel Deacon died on April 15, 1918, at age 84. Emma was 75 when she died on Dec. 21, 1932. Both are buried in Stratford’s Avondale Cemetery.  Sources include:  Historic Plaque Properties

Duggan home painting at 146 Church Street by John  G  Crich 

Duggan home

The Duggan home in this painting is  at 146 Church St. It was built in 1894 for dry goods merchant Jeremiah Augustus Duggan (1848-1936) whose business occupied a massive space at 55- 67 Downie St. (see Downie Street). This house was designed predominantly in the Queen Anne style ,which is most evident in its cross gables. Though clad mostly in deep red brick, the brickwork lacks patterning. Instead, the design is focused on classical elements.  

It was designed by architect David Gunn Baxter, who was the son of the city's chief dispatcher for the Grand Trunk Railway, Joseph Baxter. He lived at 37 Grange St. (see Grange Street)

Picture from Tim Saunders FB

Bothwell home, 149 Church St.

Dr. J. A. Bothwell, historical hroperty

The house at 149 Church St., with the second-floor bay window and the neoclassical pediment on the porch, was commissioned by Stratford dentist Dr. John Alexander Bothwell and designed by newly-established architect James Simpson Russell.


J. A. Bothwell was born in Blanshard Township in 1866, and grew up on a farm near Motherwell in Fullarton Township. He trained to be a teacher and in 1891 was teaching in nearby Blanshard. He taught for a number of years before returning to college to study dentistry. On Dec. 21, 1899, he married Frances (Fanney) Catherine Pinch. 

He set up his dental practice on the west side of Market Street (now Downie Street) near the corner of Wellington Street. On Jan. 25, 1901, their daughter, Muriel Alexandra, was born by which time Dr. Bothwell, his wife, her mother and a servant, Eva Hendley, were living in their new house on Church Street. On June 1, 1904, another daughter, Margaret Ruth, was born.


By 1911, Dr. Bothwell had moved into a new house he had built at 77 John St. N. On June 23, 1918, his daughter Muriel died of tuberculosis at age 17, and her mother two years later, on July 9, 1920. Devastated by their deaths, Dr. Bothwell created the Muriel Bothwell Medal at the Stratford Collegiate Institute (which in 1962 became Stratford Central Secondary School). It was to be awarded annually, to the best student in the social sciences and humanities. The endowment was substantial enough to support the award for 90 years. In addition to being a prominent dentist, Dr. Bothwell was also treasurer of the YMCA, president of the Stratford Horticultural Society, and chair of the city board of education. Source: Historical Plaque Properties

135 Church St.

Mayor William Davidson, home

William Davidson (see Davidson Place), the seventh mayor of the City of Stratford (1895-96), lived in this house, at 135 Church St. It was built in in 1873 in the Italianate architectural style. It is described as two-storey and L-shaped, with the brick painted cream. It has a gable roof with a projecting section on the right side. On the first floor, there is an open porch with decorative porch posts on the left side, featuring two-over-two paned windows under the porch.

The entrance porch is enclosed with double doors, each with two windows and panels below the windows. The roof above the entrance has paired brackets under it. There are three-sided bay windows on the right with a one-over-one window in each side of the bay, and a two-over-two window in the centre of the bay. There are paired brackets under the roof of the bay.

On the second floor, there are semi-elliptical windows with two-over-two panes on the left. There is a small, enclosed space above the front door with paired two-over-two rectangular windows. Note the two narrow, semi-elliptical windows, with one-over-one panes above the bay window on the right side of the house. There are two-over-two windows in each floor. Source: Heritage Designated Properties   * In later years, this was a B and B called Legacy House.