Built in 1858, Captain G.E. Morden House is an example of an original residential estate built during the time of settlement in the Town of Oakville. The building’s historical value is rooted in its past as the home to Oakville’s Morden family from 1900-1947. Captain George Handy Morden owned and operated several Lake Schooners and founded the Morden Line steamers, amassing over a thousand acres of land by the time of his death in 1908. Both a road and school in Oakville are named after him to recognize his role in shaping the region.
The original Morden family house was built by John Triller Howell in the Ontario Gothic Revival style. The rectangular two-and-a-half storey masonry structure bears unique floor-to-ceiling windows that are a centrepiece of the structure’s principal facade. The building underwent many changes over the decades, including an expanded building footprint with a two-and-a-half storey rear addition, a large sunroom, a wrap-around front porch and a wood-framed guest house.
ERA’s involvement began with identifying the original structure, and subsequently describing the removal of all later additions in order to highlight the heritage value of the Morden House. The original structure was relocated to a new foundation, positioned further south on the site, reinforcing its historic relationship to the street, and allowing for three new residential lots to be created. The rubble stone masonry structure was reinforced with deep repointing and repairs to the stucco facade treatment.
Set behind the original structure, the new addition forms a visually compatible backdrop that is subordinate to the heritage home. Its design took inspiration from the heritage characteristics of the original house, including gable ends, dormer windows and similarly angled pitched roofs. The house now boasts four bedrooms, a two-car garage, ample living spaces and an expansive finished basement.
ERA’s work on the Morden house adapts the building for a contemporary family, while protecting the house’s heritage value.