Mann Historic Trail
The Mann Historic Trail was originally designated by Wallaceburg Council in 1994 to recognize the contributions of the Mann family to historical preservation. Samuel Mann was first to settle locally in 1873, operating a livery stable on Lafontaine Street and recording local developments. His son, Frank, continued to develop an awareness of historical preservation, as did third generation member Al Mann, along with other family members. Important focus came in 1972 with the founding of the Wallaceburg & District Historical Society and the opening of the Wallaceburg Museum at 505 King St in 1984. Both these endeavors were spearheaded by members of the Mann family. Originally the Mann Historic Trail ran from Elizabeth St to the Museum along Duncan and McDougall streets. In 2004 an extension routed the trail along Wellington St. to Nelson St extending to Crothers Conservation Area. With this extension the Mann Historic Trail and the Trans Canada Trail follow the same route from the north end of the Mann Trail to Wallace St. on the south side of the Sydenham River. The trail is approximately 1 and ½ km long on municipal walkways.
Some historical sights along the Mann Trail
- 1. Wallaceburg & District Museum (505 King Street)
- Formally the Wallaceburg Hydro building (opened Feb. 27, 1927) the lower portion was turned over to the Historical Society in 1983 and opened the following year as a museum displaying and recognizing local heritage. The museum combined with the second level Jeanne Gordon Center for Performing Arts is known as the Von Ayers Cultural Center.
- 2. Stonehouse Block (south-east corner McDougall & Wallace Streets)
- Built in 1892 as a department store, the structure remains a legacy of a prominent family that arrived in Wallaceburg in 1879 and included three generations of Wallaceburg Mayors.
- 3. Tecumseh Hotel (south-east corner James and McDougall Streets)
- Serving accommodations and food needs for visitors, the beautiful brick structure was built in 1886 remaining a landmark in Wallaceburg's downtown commercial sector.
- 4. Knox Presbyterian Church (Wellington-Duncan-Elizabeth Streets)
- Remaining virtually intact cosmetically, the fine brick building saw cornerstone dedication in 1901 with a south tower added in 1914. knox Church stands firm representing Wallaceburg's earlier architectural heritage.
- 5. Mann Family Homestead (310 Nelson Street)
- Built in 1928 this stucco home was where Frank and Zine raised four boys and two girls. Immediately next door (north) was the Shaw residence, well known hardware merchants.
- 6. Forhan House (325 Nelson Street)
- Built in 1887 for local merchant Peter Forhan, this attractive Victorian residence was later the home of Dr. Stanley Richardson, medical practitioner and mayor. The home underwent major restoration in 1985 and again in 2002.
- 7. Glouaster House (Nelson-Elgin-Duncan Streets)
- A wedding present for Arthur and Gretta(Hay) Gordon, the house was built in 1932. Over the years, prominent overnight guests included Prime Minister Louis St. Laurent, provincial leader Mitchell Hepburn and Olympic skating gold medalist Barbara Ann Scott. The town's first in-ground swimming pool remains along Duncan Street.
- 8. Saint House (413 Nelson Street)
- Fred Saint, merchant and race track owner and his family lived in this quaint home. Mr. Saint operated a furniture and funeral business and his race horses were successful in both Canada and the U.S. Saint's raceway was located betwen McNaughton and Murray Streets.
- 9. Irwin Home (424 Nelson Street)
- In 1926 Morrison Irwin, a Baldoon settlement descendent opened Selrite Department Store which grew into Mirwin's, a chain of several locations in Kent and Lambton Counties. He also operated Mirwin Park during the 1930's, an amusement park located on the Chenal Ecarte River.
- 10. Baptist Manse (438 Nelson Street)
- At this location was the first rector's manse for First Baptist Church (located at the corner of Wellington and William Streets) ironically across the street from a Methodist Church.
- 11. King George Park (Nelson-Trafalgar-Duncan Streets)
- Named for reigning monarch King George VI, the area was developed by the wallaceburg Optimist Club after World War II. It became home of Optimist minor baseball and hosted many championship games.
- 12. Colwell Home (696 Nelson Street)
- William Colwell came to Wallaceburg in 1895 seeking to buy out (unsuccessfully) the Herald newspaper. Instead he founded the Wallaceburg News, first published in 1896 which lasted until 1997. The family lived at this choice location overlooking Running Creek.
- 13. Fralick Shipyard (744 Nelson Street)
- Originally an island named Winover, the prime site where Running Creek and the Sydenham merge was once busy with ship building and repair. "Doc Fralick was a master shipbuilder with descendents still residing at the location.