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South-Western Traction Line, 1902-1918



185 Horton Street, London, Ontario (present site of Ivy Hall Residence, London International Academy) London, ON
42° 58' 44.544" N, 81° 14' 46.68" W
17 May 2012




602 Queens Avenue, London, Ontario London, ON
42° 59' 25.5012" N, 81° 13' 58.998" W
6 November 2014

The Benjamin Cronyn Junior family originally lived in a smaller house on the site of Oakwood.  Benjamin was the second son of Bishop Benjamin Cronyn, the first bishop of the Diocese of Huron.  Benjamin’s father-in-law was George Jervis Goodhue, London’s first “millionaire.”  George was born on August 1st, 1799 in Putney, Vermont and settled in the London area in 1820.  He died on January 11th, 1870.  As stipulated by his will, the inheritances from George’s $650,000 estate were not distributed until after his wife, Louisa’s death on August 1st, 1880. His daughter, Mary Goodhue Cronyn, used some of her $130,000 inheritance to build Oakwood.   The following excerpt is from the March 18th, 1881 issue of the London Advertiser:

Building operations – the contracts for the erection of large additions and alterations of Mr. Benjamin Cronyn’s residence, corner of Queen’s Avenue and Adelaide Street have been let as follows…Brickwork, Goldsmith & Garratt; carpenter work, Messrs. J.C. Dodd & Son; stone work, Messrs. Powell & Son; slating by F. Riddell. 

Oakwood was built from 1880 to 1882 in the Second Empire style.   The architect was George F. Durand.  It was built of red brick, which was later covered over with stucco, probably in the 1930s.  Today, the best view of the original façade can be seen from the west side.  The initials BC are carved into the terra cotta panels above one of the windows.  Another panel shows the date, 1881, in Roman numerals while other panels are embellished with oak leaves after which Oakwood was named.

Benjamin Cronyn Junior was a lawyer a mayor of London from 1874 to 1875.  Benjamin made poor financial decisions and as a result, he suffered severe losses when the Bank of London collapsed in 1887.  Other financial failures followed.  He and his family left London shortly thereafter.  He died in Toronto On November 20th, 1905 and is buried in the Goodhue plot at Woodland Cemetery in London.

Oakwood was sold to Frank and Louisa Leonard following the departure of the Cronyns.  The Leonards had three daughters and two sons.  Col. Ibbotson and Lt. Col. Woodman fought in the First World War.  Woodman was killed in action at Vimy Ridge on April 9th, 1917.  In 1930, Oakwood was sold to Central Baptist Church who converted it into a church and later built an addition which was used as a school.  In 2004, the church building was bought by Info Tech Research Group who received an Urban League Green Brick Award for their sympathetic restoration of the building.       

Nature London



645 Springbank Drive, London, Ontario (present site of Civic Gardens) London, ON
42° 57' 44.136" N, 81° 17' 48.6708" W
13 October 2017

London's Oil Industry



249 Hamilton Road, London, Ontario (present site of All Saints Anglican Church) London, ON
42° 58' 52.644" N, 81° 13' 32.8512" W
25 September 2016

Photo credit:

 Photo Credit: 

London's Oil Industry

Location on Google Maps: 249 Hamilton Road, London, Ontario (present site of All Saints Anglican Church)

London Hydro Shop, 1912-1956



272-274 Dundas Street, London, Ontario London, ON
42° 59' 7.0368" N, 81° 14' 42.3132" W
28 May 2013

The Hydro Shop was a retail store established in 1912 by the Board of Water Commissioners (later the Public Utilities Commission) designed to encourage the use of electrical appliances in the home for the convenience of the homemaker while building a customer base for the distribution of power from Niagara Falls, a pet project of Mayor and MPP, Adam Beck.  It was through his leadership that London became the second city in Ontario to obtain hydro at 12:15 pm on November 30, 1910.

When efforts by the Board's general manager, Edward Victor Buchanan, to encourage local businesses to undertake a campaign to promote domestic electrical appliances were met with resistance, the Board established its own retail store in 1912, first in the city hall on Richmond Street and then in a former drug store on the corner of Dundas and Wellington Streets.  There it used innovative marketing tactics such as cooking demonstrations in its showroom, free home trials and payments on the installment plan to attract more users.

It was the first of its kind in Ontario. It is credited with attracting and retaining businesses like Kelvinator and McClary and under the direction of its creative manager E. V. Buchanan with introducing the prototype for the Cascade 40 water heater, the first automobile block heater, and a forerunner of the smart meter. The Hydro Shop turned London into the electric range capital of North America, with more electric ranges per population than any other city.

The success of The Hydro Shop also spilled over to private businesses as public demand for reasonably priced electrical appliances increased. By 1956, the proliferation of such appliances—air conditioners, curling irons, fridges, kettles, mixers and stoves —in electrical business and discount stores meant that the Board’s mission had been achieved and The Hydro Shop was closed.

Adam Beck’s motto was dona naturae pro populo sunt (the gifts of nature are for the public). Through the operation of The Hydro Shop, the commission he established to oversee the distribution of electricity ensured that the farmer, the homemaker and the small businessperson shared in the benefits of affordable, reliable publicly owned power.

John Herbert Chapman



Atrium, Physics and Astronomy Building, Western University, London, Ontario London, ON
43° 0' 34.9164" N, 81° 16' 21.2304" W
13 April 2015

First Branch Library



795 Dundas Street, London, Ontario (present site of Aeolian Hall) London, ON
42° 59' 26.3148" N, 81° 13' 29.3484" W
14 December 2015

The Farmer's Advocate



122 Carling Street, London, Ontario (present site of the Marienbad Restaurant) London, ON
42° 59' 2.6304" N, 81° 15' 6.1452" W
24 June 2011

This is the Historic Sites Committee’s second plaque on this site. The first, erected in 1990, commemorated the building at 122 Carling Street, once home to the London Free Press.

Another notable journal published here was the Farmer’s Advocate, founded by William Weld in 1866. Weld was born in England in 1824, the son of an Anglican clergyman. Although privately educated and a privileged young man, his unconventional persona and habit of expressing his views in a fearless and out-spoken manner were an embarrassment to his family. With financial assistance from them he immigrated to North America at the age of nineteen.

Weld bought a 100-acre farm in Delaware Township, situated in one of Canada’s richest agricultural belts. He married a local girl, Agnes Johnstone in 1845, and they raised a family of eleven children.

Weld read farm journals containing scientific agricultural information, and applied that data to his own operation, becoming a progressive and well-known farmer. He established a stock, seed and implement emporium, which grew into one of the most important seed houses in Canada under the ownership of his son Henry Weld, and J.S. Pearce.

Weld believed a practical farm journal was much needed and founded the Farmer’s Advocate in 1866. He first published the journal at his farm, but as the business grew, he relinquished the farm operations to two of his sons. Moving the Advocate to London, he devoted himself full time to it as both editor and proprietor.

William Weld was known to express himself in no uncertain terms on subjects both agricultural and political.

The Farmer’s Advocate continued to grow. By 1876, the office was located at 360 Richmond Street, between King and York. Beside the windows on the second story, one can see two carved keystones; one representing a sheaf of wheat and the other a corn stalk. The paper’s circulation reached 6,000 in 1879.

William Weld died on January 3, 1891. He had been investigating a water leak in the attic of his home, fell head first into the household water tank and drowned. He had made important contributions to the development of agriculture in Canada and the United States. His fifth son, John Weld, succeeded him as publisher and editor.

In 1911, the company purchased land on the Wharncliffe Highway. Many new agricultural methods and crop varieties were tested on this Weldwood Farm.

Around 1920, the offices of the Farmer’s Advocate moved to 122 Carling Street under the direction of John Weld. He died in 1931, and was succeeded by his son, Earnest John Weld. The journal’s circulation reached 200,000 in 1944.

In 1949, the Farmer’s Advocate was published on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month and an annual subscription cost 50 cents.

The Cities Heating Company, behind 122 Carling Street on Queens Avenue, supplied heat from its enormous coal-burning furnaces for the Farmer’s Advocate building along with many other businesses. Tall stacks spread smoke and soot over much of downtown London. Heating and cooling today is done by London District Energy, a much more environmentally friendly process.

The Farmer’s Advocate folded in 1965 after 99 years in business. A decline in advertising revenue was a major reason for its demise. When the building on Carling Street and Weldwood Farm were sold, a complete set of annual bound volumes of the Advocate dating back to 1867 were found in the office safe. The issues from 1866 had not survived. These volumes were sent to the University of Guelph and are now in its archives. The Canadian Library Association microfilmed the issues from 1867 to 1920, and these are available at the London Room of the Central Library. Drop by and have a look at them some time. They are full of interesting information.

Dr. Edwin Seaborn



Medical Sciences Building, Western University, London, Ontario London, ON
43° 0' 38.2788" N, 81° 16' 28.164" W
1 November 2016