Uncover our community's unique history by stepping back in time and into some of the areas most fascinating buildings.

McGregor-Cowan House - Doors Open Site, 2014

McGregor-Cowan House

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Year Constructed: c. 1808

Open: Saturday September 27, Sunday September 28
10 a.m. To 4 p.m.
Not HA
Street parking
Food for sale

The stately Georgian-style McGregor Cowan House, built c. 1808, is believed to be the second oldest building in Windsor (after the Duff-Baby Mansion built in 1798).

The symmetrical Georgian façade and French Canadian placement of the chimneys on either side of the ridge pole symbolize the successful interaction of early British and French settlers in the area. Other Georgian characteristics include a centre hall plan with a steeply pitched roof, moderate overhang of the eaves and an overall appearance of "masculine proportions". The offset chimney placement provided a practical, independent heating arrangement in the front and back of the house. This is the only known surviving building in the area, and possibly in the province featuring this type of heating system. There are 7 fireplaces with evidence of the house having had 3 others.

The property was originally owned by George Sharp, a prominent fur trader from Detroit. Sharp had obtained a grant from King George III in 1797 but never developed the site. It was James McGregor who bought the property and built the house and along with his brother used it as a store for the Hudson's Bay Company. Mr. John Cowan purchased the home in 1830. He was owner and publisher of the Canadian Emigrant and Western District Advertiser. The home remained in the Cowan family into the 1950s. A fire severely damaged the attic and second floor in 1986 but the spaces were reconstructed.

During the War of 1812-14, prisoners were house in the basement. Holes in the beams denote where the chains hung and during the Rebellion years, officers were housed here.

Location: 3118 Sandwich Street

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