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Markham Village Buildings' History
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Corner of Highway 7 & Main Street Markham
It is on this spot, that the notorious outlaw Red Ryan shot and killed Mr. Stonehouse during a botched auto theft. Red Ryan was a ‘reformed criminal who was out on parole and part of his ‘community service’ was to do a regular radio broadcast of CFRB about the evils of the criminal ways. It was an inspiration to many listeners. The irony was that right after Ryan’s radio Broadcast, Jim Hunter who lived and grew up in Markham was sitting right across the desk from Ryan with the lead story of the terrible murder in quiet Markham.
4 Main Street North
Charles Chapman, born in Lincolnshire, England, built this Second Empire style house in 1873. Mr. Chapman was a nineteenth-century village merchant, selling organs, pianos, and melodeons. A part of his home served as a showroom.
12 Main Street North
The Speight family built this Victorian picturesque house circa 1870. The Speights operated one of the largest wagon manufactories in Ontario on the adjacent property to the north. The wagon works was established by Thomas Speight of Yorkshire, England, in 1830. This home was rented to the factory foreman, Robert McKay.
32 Main Street North
Originally, this Ontario Vernacular church with Italianate and Gothic features served a Wesleyan Methodist congregation. The church was built in 1862 for $6,500. In 1926, the Presbyterian and Methodist churches united and this church became St. Andrew's United Church. Since this time, a vestibule and wing have been added to the original building.
34-36 Main Street North
This Ontario Vernacular home with Italianate features was built circa 1880 and served as both a residence and a drugstore for Dr. John Doherty. William Fleming purchased the building in 1887 and again and it became both his home and place of business. William, and later his son, Robert, sold pianos, organs, and sewing machines. William was also the Canadian checker champion from 1868 to 1890. His memorial stone in St. Andrew’s Cemetery east of Main St. south of Hwy 7, has been inscribed with a checkerboard.
40-44 Main Street North
The Speight Wagon Company had this row of Second Empire style houses built in 1895. This type of housing was relatively inexpensive to construct as the walls were shared with the adjacent homes. In the 1880s, the wagon manufactory employed over 100 workers. Some of the employees resided in these homes.
48 Main Street North
Known as the “Wedding Cake House” for the exuberance of its decorative woodwork, this Picturesque house was built for James Speight circa 1870. James was the son of Thomas Speight, the founder of the Speight Wagon Company. James managed the wagon works and was also elected the first Reeve of Markham Village in 1873. The ornate trim for the house would have been made at his factory.
54 Main Street North
Ernest Crosby built this old Queen Anne Revival style home in 1910. Mr. Crosby was a local merchant and a descendant of William Crosby who came to Markham from New York State in 1807. The building was purchased in 1944 by the late John Cattanach, to be used as his home and law office.
80 Main Street North
John Wilson built this Ontario Vernacular store with the “boomtown” front in 1864. A boomtown front is a false front which masks the roof behind. Mr. Wilson lived in the building directly south. Since this time, the building has been a store, a general store, a shoe store and a hardware store at different times over the years. Henry Tane and Charlie Sargent were both past proprietors.
96 Main Street North
The Markham Village Town Hall was built by John Wilson in 1882 for $4,437. The main floor was the meeting hall. The village council members met in the south half of the basement and the jail was in the north half. The Masonic and Oddfellow Lodges used the second storey for their meetings. The building is Ontario Vernacular with Italianate features.
106-128 Main Street North

The late 19th, early 20th century development of the village is well-illustrated in this block. A tailor shop occupied the building furthest south which was raised from 1 ½ to 2 ½ storeys in 1910. The next building north was built by Robert J. Corson in 1906 as a home for the Markham economist newspaper. R.A Mason built a drugstore to the north of this in 1882. Beside this was the Sovereign Bank, constructed in the last quarter of the 1800s. The next three shops were a store, butcher shop and livery stable. Beside these (124 Main Street) was the first Economist office in 1856. Ebenezer Burk ran a general store in the building to the north circa 1869. The building on the corner was a doctor’s office, built in 1857.
140 Main Street North
Circa 1845, William Browning, a watch and clock-maker, built this Ontario Vernacular cottage with Regency features. During the first decades of the twentieth-century, the telegraph office and later the First World War Recruiting Office were housed here. Circa 1920, the building was sold to the public library.
144 Main Street North
144 Main Street North
This High Victorian picturesque home was built in 1886 for Henry Wilson, a general store merchant in the village. In 1917, Dr. John MacDonald purchased it for use as his home and office and later that of his daughter, Dr. Innis MacDonald.
152 Main Street North

152 Main Street North
Dr. Wesley Robinson graduated in medicine from McGill College in Montreal in 1872. Shortly thereafter, this Ontario Vernacular home was built for him. The door on the second floor is known as a suicide or mother-in-law door. These doors were often included to indicate to the tax collector that a balcony was yet to be added, placing the house in the unfinished category and exempting the owner from paying taxes. A plaque commemorating Dr. Robinson’s distinguished work for the C.N.I.B. has been mounted on the building.
123-131 Main Street North

The Tremont Hotel was built in 1873 to replace the Anglo-American Hotel, one of the buildings on Main Street destroyed in the 1872 fire. Built in the Ontario Vernacular-Provincial Georgian style, it remained a hotel until 1960.
162 Main Street North
162 Main Street North
Robert J. Corson built his High Victorian Picturesque home in 1887. Robert succeeded his father as editor and publisher of the Markham Economist newspaper in 1909. His father, Henry R. Corson had inherited the paper from his brother-in-law, David Reesor. In 1915, Robert Corson bought out the Markham Sun, a “Tory” paper, and continued to publish the Markham Economist and Sun until his death in 1930.

166 Main Street North
Senator David Reesor had this Italianate home built for him in 1876. Mr. Reesor was a very public-spirited man. In 1856, he founded the Economist, “a journal of strong reform proclivities”. David Reesor became a member of the Legislative Assembly in 1860 and remained so until 1867 when he was appointed to the Senate.

159 Main Street North
“Maple Villa”, as it was known, was built for Henry R. Wales in 1845. Henry Wales was born in England in 1822. He learned the carriage and wagon building trade in New York State prior to establishing the Phoenix Carriage Works immediately south-west of his home. The house is Ontario Vernacular with Regency, Georgian and Italian features.

115-117 Main Street North
In 1872, Charles Carleton’s store and dwelling were destroyed in the fire. This Ontario Vernacular building with Italianate features was built the following year to replace these. George W. Reesor and the Nighswander family were later proprietors.

16 George Street
This house in the High Victorian picturesque style was built circa 1890 and is noted for its decorative gable work.

5 George Street
This home was built in the picturesque style, circa 1880, by Alexander Fleury. Fleury operated a foundry that produced agricultural implements, including Fleury’s famous plow, sold worldwide. From 1938 to 1954, Nettie Koch, R.N. ran the Koch Maternity Hospital in this home.

48 Washington Street
This board and batten Ontario Vernacular home was built with picturesque features. Built circa 1870 by Christian Reesor, a Markham farmer and descendant of Markham’s founding Reesor Family, the house operated as the home and office to Dr. Arthur L. Hore, early in the 20th century.




91 Main Street North
This building was built in 1895 to house the Bank of Commerce (Before it became the Imperial Bank of Commerce.) It was a tall structure, designed to show the stability of the bank. The first floor was the banking floor, with the managers office in the front window, and the teller’s cage in the center of the south wall. Inside you can still see the tin-type ceiling, the old electric lights which were added later, and the chimney where the stove pipe would have connected from the pot belly stove in the back by the vault. (The vault now holds the washrooms for the Tea Shop.) The second floor was the apartment for the bank manager and his wife, and the top floor was for the tellers, who were all single men. Here are some more photos
97 Main Street North
This Ontario Vernacular building with Italianate and Classical Revival features was built in 1873 by Christian Reesor, shortly after his marriage to Emma Cornell (WP). Since its construction, it has operated continuously as a store. T.B. Rieve was one of the late proprietors.
It has always operated as a store since its original construction.Here are some more photos
53-65 Main Street North
Originally, this Provincial Georgian home was built in 1845 for Terrance McKenna, an early schoolteacher. Later, it was occupied by Dr. R.C. Tefft, a local veterinarian and Reeve of the village in 1900. Thereafter, it became a double dwelling, the south half being home to Robert Quantz.
69 Main Street North
Thomas Wooten House: This building is typical of the style of upper class house in Ontario. It has the customary center hall plan with four room on the downstairs and four on the upstairs. The bay windows have been added in the last decade, and the roof over the front door has been added to take away from the starkness of the suicide door. Notice that the wooden boards have been milled to form a tongue and groove, but is still in the vertical board style.
Thomas F. Wootten came to Markham from Wiltshire, England along with his parents and siblings, in 1856. He was one of the nine children of David and Eliza (Clifford) Wootten. David Wootten was an innkeeper in Markham Village in the early 1870s. According to the 1871 census, Thomas Wootten was 30 years of age and a shoe maker by trade. His wife was Sarah Jane Brooks. Thomas later took over a local livery business from his brother Albert J. Wootten. He held a contract for conveyance of Her Majesty's Mails (Queen Victoria at that time), and also served as the village pound keeper. Wootten Way, a relatively recent street east of Markham Village, was named for the family.

George Duncan, Markham Heritage Section

4 Homestead Court.
James Robinson built the Ontario Vernacular Farmhouse at 4 Homestead Court in 1879.

The Robinson Properties, Tannery, Woolen Mill, Farm House and Pond
The William Robinson family was amoung the earliest settlers and business people in Markham Village. William’s son John purchased the area at the foot of the Robinson Hill in 1832 and established a pond and tannery there. His son James Robinson operated the tannery business and farmed the area running east from the pond. He also established the Maple Leaf Woolen Mill on the south side of Robinson Street in 1886. The mill was an imposing building with a tower rising 3 storeys above the already four-storey structure. The tower was struck by lightning in 1917 and the mill burned to the ground. Other businesses that thrived in this area included the Levi Jones & Company Foundry which manufactured bells, the Sisman Shoe Factory and Craig Maltloaf Bakery. In 1954 the millpond was washed away by hurricane Hazel. The former pond area was rehabilitated in 2000 by the Main Street Markham Committee. A boardwalk was added, along with storm water management ponds and native plantings.

15-21 Wilson Street
Theses homes, built circa 1900, are examples of Second Empire row housing, typical of dwellings built to house employees of the many mills, foundries and manufactories that made Markham a thriving community in the mid-to-late 19th century.

 
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