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Green Gables

Green Gables
Plaque no. 26
Date of plaque unveiling
17 May 1983
There were no speakers.
1148 Richmond Street, London, Ontario

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The Green Gables neighbourhood was once Clergy Reserve land.  Following government policy of freeing these lands for settlement, in 1869 the Diocese of Huron divided and sold lots in what is Broughdale today.

The first settlers on this property were Charles Dickerson and his wife Lydia, who had purchased a lot north of what is now University Drive. In the 1870s, Dickerson, head carpenter at Hellmuth Ladies College, built several houses on both sides of the Proof Line Road (now Richmond Street) between Brough’s Bridge and the present University of Western Ontario gates. Two of these houses are still standing - 1160, and Green Gables at 1148.

Dickerson is also credited with developing what is now Brough Street in the 1880s. His objective was to gain access to the rear of his property without paying the toll at Huron Street levied for use of the Proof Line Road.

In the three decades following the sale of the Clergy Reserve, lands in Broughdale were subdivided and slowly settled. By 1899, around 25 families were living there, but the hamlet had no school, church, or shops. The closest school was in Masonville, and the closest church was St. John’s in Arva. London, sparsely settled north of Oxford Street, seemed distant.

Broughdale’s isolation came to an end in the summer of 1901 when the London Street Railway extended an electric streetcar line into the hamlet, a development that was met with great excitement. Lydia Dickerson, having heard that electricity was good for rheumatism, “intended to ride the cars everyday as a treatment . . . and she did!”