Woodstock is fortunate to have many impressive historic homes. These homes help to tell the history of Woodstock and of the various residents who contributed to the Woodstock that we know today. I have selected a sampling of a few of the homes for your reading pleasure.
The home shown above, 99 Light St., is located at the southwest corner of Buller and Light. It was built by William L. MacKay, the owner of several early clothing stores and a noted horticulturalist. His gardens, especially his peonies (Woodstock’s flower), were widely known. The home is in the Queen Anne style, it is a two storey wood-clad home with a hip roof with gables. There is a stained glass window in the stairwell and another stained glass window between the chimney flues decorated with pink flamingos. The open verandah is supported by Doric columns.
This home, 95 Vansittart Ave., is located on the southwest corner of Buller and Vansittart, and was once called Venlaw House. It has a steep-pitched truncated roof and a gable roofed 3-storey tower topped with a finial. The open brick porch protects the door, sidelights and transform. John Forbes, who owned the Commercial Hotel and a livery stable, built it in 1880. Upon his death in 1886, the family of John White lived here for 30 years. John White was twice Mayor of Woodstock and founded the John White Co, a dry goods store located at Dundas & Riddell, in 1860. In 1913, it was one of the first businesses to have electric lights and an electric elevator. John White was known as the “king of dry goods dealers’ in SW Ontario because of his progressive ordering-from-source and discounting policies.
In 1878, James Bell, built this home at 165 Light St., in the classic revival style. It is located on the west side of Light St. between Drew St. and Ingersoll Ave., For most of the 1900’s it was the home of the Poole family. Peter Poole established Poole & Co. in 1895, a local independent grocery store located at 417 Dundas St. When Peter Poole died in 1937, his son Jack took over the operations of the business. In 1953, Peter Poole’s grandson, John, moved the store to 190 Huron St. The store celebrated its centenary in 1995, having been operated by 4 generations of the Poole family. This grocery store outlived the Dominion and Loblaws stores in Woodstock due to their personal service.
Information for this article provided by Kathie Richards, President of the Oxford Historical Society, and the pictures were taken by Eleanor Gardhouse, Archivist of the Oxford Historical Society.