The Stone Store c.1853
Cultural Heritage Value
The street on which this building is located developed as the commercial centre of the Village of Thorold with the opening of the first Welland Canal in 1829. This north-south street approximately paralleled the east side of the Canal. Because of the street’s location and orientation to the Canal, the Canal is actually at the rear of the properties that are on the west side of Front Street. This is significant since the street “fronts” the old canals, mills, millraces and other related structures. The NS & T. Railway Co. in the early 1900’s ran on a trestle through the properties at the rear of Front St. South. This “stone store” was an impressive building when it was constructed 150 years ago and to this day it continues to enhance the streetscape of downtown Thorold.
Stone mason and master builder – William Martin was engaged in the construction of many outstanding buildings and it is most likely that he built the stone store between 1853 – 57 on the property owned by William and his two brothers, John and Robert. It is a handsome 2-storey stone building with a gable roof and basement walls of rubble stone.. To the south of the building is an alleyway that once led down to the 2nd Welland Canal and Lock 24 located behind the store. The building displays many of the Italianate-style features popular in commercial buildings of the 1850’s, such as round-headed windows, brackets and columns. This stone building has survived relatively unchanged since photographs taken of it c.1900. The building has a moderately-pitched gable roof with end gables that project above the roof line to form a fire wall. The chimneys, one in each of the gable ends of the roof, are symmetrically located at the apex of the gable. The front facade exhibits the rectangular, cast iron columns made by A. Dobbie of Thorold. One of the striking interior features is the decorative pressed pattern tin ceiling. Modernization has been done in a respectful way during the second half of the 20th century.
The name “The Stone Store” was used because most of the other commercial buildings constructed on Front Street at that time, were built of wood and later brick. One of the first businesses to occupy the commercial space was a drapery store owned by Mrs. Rosetta McClelland. Over the years it has served the community as a grocery store, stationery and book store, TV store and currently as a fine clothing store.