Reason for Designation
This modest brick house displays the segmental or squared arches above its windows and doors typical of the late 19th century Italianate style. Also characteristic of this style is the bay window on the east side with projecting cornice supported by simple paired brackets and modillions underscored with a guilloche molding. Beneath this a decorative curvilinear molding accents the top frame of all three bay windows.
The house was likely constructed of red brick from the Hooker brickyard once located nearby, and is similar in appearance and style to a number of houses from the same era in this area of Bald and Maple Streets. It was built in 1872 for 58 year old labourer Harmon Johnson King, a German immigrant, and his 54 year old wife Ann, who was born in Scotland. The Kings lived here only three years before selling it to John and Susannah Anderson. John Anderson was a dredgeman and engineer who worked for Hingston and Ward in Buffalo, New York. In the mid 1880’s his work took him to Chicago, Illinois, where the family was living when they sold the house to Vernon Robinson in 1895.
Vernon Hamilton Robinson, of English ancestry, was a salesman at Reilly’s Shoe Store on East Main Street during the 1890’s. He and his wife Malvina, of Dutch descent, re-sold the house in 1897 to Mary Toyn of Crowland Township. Mrs. Toyn was the daughter of Richard Booth and was born in Cumberland, England, on November 9, 1842. The family emigrated to Canada when she was nine years old and in 1858 settled at Welland Station. A year later Mary married William Toyn, with whom she had six children. William Toyn died in August of 1889 and Mrs. Toyn remarried to George Hanna shortly after purchasing 81 Bald Street in 1897. The Hannas, members of Holy Trinity Anglican Church, continued to live here until her death in August of 1908.
George Hanna was born in Canada and was employed by the Government of Canada for over forty years as lock tender on the feeder canal (which at that time supplied water to the Welland Canal) near Welland. He retired in 1894. He was a supporter of the Conservative Party, and like his second wife, Mary, was an Anglican. He and his first wife Agnes Corbett had three children. After his death on December 25, 1911 his son, George Alpha Hanna, sold the property to Agnes Ruby.
Mrs. Agnes Eleanor Ruby, the widow of Alihu A. Ruby, was born in Kitchener and moved to Welland in 1897. She purchased the property in November of 1912 and the Ruby family occupied it for the next three decades. Her son, Roswell, a dredgeman and later district superintendent at Port Arthur for the Canadian Dredging Company, also lived here until the early 1940’s. Mrs. Ruby died at age 92 in 1948 and the house was sold to Harry Swick the next year. Mr. Swick, a hammersmith at Atlas Steels, rented the house during the 1950's to Edna, June and Ruth Flumerfelt. June was a saleslady at Smart Wear and Ruth worked as a clerk in the Registry Office and later at John Deere. Subsequent owners Weston and Mary Bass sold it to John and Anne Muggeridge in 1969. John, an English professor at Niagara College, was the son of well known British author, political critic and television personality Malcolm Muggeridge. The current owners, Stewart and Tina Hill, purchased the property in 2001.