Spring Street – 40

Woodside

By-law: (2004)-17606

Legal Description: Part Lot 10, Range E1, Division F

Designated Portions

Exterior

  • the street façade and the west side yard facades, including all door and window openings;
  • the front corner of the east façade as indicated in Schedule D (of the by-law)
  • the roof line, with its decorative barge boards
  • the curving driveway, trees and front yard as defined by the City of Guelph Zoning By-law as amended from time to time;
  • the oblique views and villa appearance of the house from the street as defined in Schedule D (of the by-law) showing View Areas A and B as projected from the point of intersection of the front and side lot lines to the points on the original house as indicated.

Interior:

  • four sets of double doors;
  • the staircase;
  • the floor mouldings on ground floor;
  • the John Carpenter lock on the back door

It is intended that any non-original features may be returned to their documented original form without requiring City Council permission for an alteration to the designation.

Property History

  • Built by a prominent local family
  • Designed and constructed by a prominent local architect
  • House is a unique style for Guelph and is largely intact
  • Was the childhood home of an internationally significant person

The house was built in 1869 for “the Misses Mickle”, the unmarried daughters of Charles and Sarah Mickle, English immigrants to a farm on the Elora Road in 1832. Charles Mickle was influential in Guelph through his involvement in the educational system, the Mechanic’s Institute, and the Congregational Church.

The building site was purchased by the daughters Margaret and Lydia Mickle in 1866 from George Mackenzie Stewart after the death of their parents in the later 1850’s. The house was built in a villa style on the 2 ¾ acre park lot which originally extended from Delhi Street down to King Street. The lot and house are shown clearly on maps of the 1870’s.

The house was designed and built by Stephen Boult, born and trained in England. Boult was one of the most prolific architects in Guelph in the 1860’s and 1870’s and provided many of the building materials for the buildings he constructed from his planning mill on Quebec Street. Some of the buildings he designed and constructed include John Hogg’s block at the corner of Carden and Wyndham streets and the Congregational Church (1867) on Norfolk Street (demolished). He was supervising architect and contractor for three other churches – St. George’s Anglican (1870-72), First Baptist (1871), and Dublin Street Methodist (1874).

The Mickle family kept the property until 1894 when it was sold to Kenneth Maclean, a local barrister. This family owned the property for generations. The granddaughter of Kenneth is Dorothy Maclean, one of the three founders of Findhorn in Scotland, an ecology and spirituality centre that was started in the early 1960’s. Dorothy grew up in the house and remembers the grounds and the adjacent Homewood forest as influential to her appreciation of the natural world.

Most recently, the property was owned by Wilfrid and Lorain Bean. Wilfrid Bean grew up in Kitchener where his ancestors, John Biehn and family, were among the original settlers. After retiring from the RCAF, he became Vice President, Administration, of the University of Guelph in 1970 and purchased the house in the same year. The Bean family made the request to designate the property.

The house at 40 Spring Street was constructed of locally made, buff coloured brick, in a pattern of alternating spreaders and headers. The design has touches of an English rural style referred to as “Jacobethan”, a mixture of medieval, Elizabethan and Jacobin periods. The most notable feature of this style is the roof line, with its clipped gable ends which form a jerkin-head.

Over the years the villa landscape has been reduced by severance so that the present lot is just over an acre. Much of the house remains intact, however elements such as the front porch and several chimneys are now in a reduced form or missing.