25 Mitchell Street

“Ferndell” is located on the north side of Mitchell Street, west of Eramosa Road. The two-and-a-half-storey limestone residence was constructed in circa 1860. The property was designated, by the City of Guelph, in 2004, for its cultural heritage value or interest, under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act, By-law (2004) – 17377.

“Ferndell” is associated with prominent Guelph resident Adam Robertson Sr., who had emigrated from Scotland. The limestone used to build the residence was most likely quarried from a site on the Mitchell Block, land he had purchased for his foundry, in 1852. The foundry was the third that Robertson Sr. constructed in Guelph. Known as Guelph Foundry, it produced agricultural implements for the local farmers. The home was referred to as Ferndell by Robertson and local media outlets due to the nearby hill.

Adam Robertson Sr. was a long-standing Town Councillor, who was in public service from the mid 1850s to the early 1880s. He was also Mayor of Guelph in 1873.

“Ferndell” is an excellent example of what is generally known as “the Ontario House”, popular primarily in rural Ontario. The house was built in circa 1860 and typical of this form is the classical symmetry, with a central hall plan and rear kitchen which gives the house a “T” form. A centre gable above the entranceway contains a gothic window. The front windows are elaborately paneled with shutters while the rest are more simply framed. The front porch was added early in the 20th century, when Robertson's son, Adam Jr., lived in the house and was proprietor of the foundry. Interior trimming, locks, stairs and fireplaces remain untouched.

The home is also an excellent example of Guelph stone residential architecture. The facade is constructed of cut stone while the remaining walls are of rubble stone. Typical of the Scottish tradition, the house has a stone wall at the front property line, a feature rare in Guelph.

Source: City of Guelph, By-law (2004) – 17377.