South End Loses Another Piece of History

An 1870’s farmhouse at 132 Clair Road West burned to the ground in the early morning hours of Saturday, June 21. The house has been vacant since 2006, and yes, it had heritage value. The land was originally part of Puslinch Township and was annexed by the City of Guelph. The land was first settled in 1830 by Simon Eustace (b. 1892) and his wife Bridget (b. 1807), immigrants from Ireland. They likely first built a log cabin on the site, cleared the land, and the later house was built sometime prior to 1877. The farm was later bought by David Maltby, and then John Clair.

132 Clair Road West

It’s such a shame that the south end of Guelph is losing, or has already lost, much of its historic past. The Tolton farm on Clair Road East burned down (mysteriously) in 2005. The Hanlon and Clair farms were demolished, and “replicas” (nothing original) were built in the Westminster Woods subdivision. Luckily, the Carter-Moffatt farmhouse (the beautiful stone house on Coopers Court in the Clairfields subdivision) was saved.

The fire is still under investigation.

4 thoughts on “South End Loses Another Piece of History

  1. Hello,

    I realize it’s been five years since this story was written, but I just found it on google. My mother, Melva Lynch, was born in Puslinch. Simon Eustace and his wife Bridget (Carroll) were her great grandparents. How wonderful that their history is preserved in the Guelph records. Do you have any other information about them or their farm? I believe their daughter, Bridget Eustace married Michael McNulty.

    Fran Domenico
    Boulder, Colorado

  2. My sister, Fran Domenico, sent this and it’s always interesting to read about Guelph. But, I believe there’s a mistake listing Simon Eustace’s birthdate as 1892. Shouldn’t it be 1792? Also, what is the status of the Hanlon farmhouse off Downey Road? Thanks. Mary Desmond, Detroit, Michigan

  3. Hi Fran and Mary! Great to hear from you and your connection to Guelph history. As you know, the SW corner of Gordon Street and Clair Road was originally Puslinch Township, later annexed into the City of Guelph in the 1990s. Most of the area is now residential subdivision, and many of the names of the streets have preserved the names of early Irish settlers – Lynch, Doyle, Clair, Hanlon, Laird, McNulty, Maltby, Carroll, and Drohan. It would be nice to get one of the new streets named Eustace as well.

    The original Hanlon Farm (settled by Felix Hanlon in 1828) is still intact off Downey Road (address is now officially 35 Niska Road). The stone house (1870s), the milk house, and barn are all still standing and well-preserved. Due to the Hanlon Creek running through the property, the site is protected (about 5 acres) through the Grand River Conservation Authority (GRCA). A young family lives there now, and are great stewards of the farm and its history.

    • Thank you, Leanne! I’m researching my Carroll ancestors and have hit a road block. Any news of the early Carroll families
      ? Were they part of the Peter Robinson settlers?

      Thank you, Fran

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