Historic Buildings

The School House

Built in 1859 to replace an earlier school that was destroyed by fire, S.S. #4 was large and bright, with huge windows and a carefully chosen colour scheme designed specifically to encourage attention and obedience. It became, as most schools did, a centre of community, used for the local Ladies Intellectual Club meetings, adult German language classes, and of course, the much anticipated annual Christmas pageant.


The school was in use for 89 years, until a bigger, much more modern one was built nearby. The stone school house was abandoned, stripped of its interior, and left alone. In 1952, a local winery, Jordan Wines, purchased it, and gave it back to the community. It was filled with agricultural tools and artisan’s equipment, and turned into a museum that opened in 1953.


In 1997, the school house was painstakingly restored to look as it would have in 1908. A reunion of alumni was held and contemporary School Board minutes were consulted to make sure things were set up correctly. A school field trip program has been created whereby children can come for the day, and role-play a child who was actually a student there in 1908! During the summer months, the school house is open to the public, and many a person who actually went to a one-room school themselves have been moved to tears by the memories that the highly authentic restoration brings back. The school house is also available for rentals, for weddings, meetings, and other private events.


The Fry House

Fry house

When Jacob Fry and his family left Pennsylvania in 1800, he was one of more than 30 Mennonite families seeking religious freedom and the good farming said to be had in Upper Canada. Jacob settled first near Grimsby, but soon was convinced to move to Vineland in 1815, to be close to the other families who had settled there.

The house he built, with its central chimney plan and double attic, was based on medieval German architecture, and was a statement of the strong tradition of his community. The Fry family lived in it until 1895, when a new brick home was built less than 200 yards away. The log house was left as a playhouse for the children, and even served time as a chicken house! In the late 1950’s, a group of volunteers rescued the house, and moved it down to its current site on the museum grounds. It was restored, and turned into a showcase for the artifacts and lifestyle of the Fry family. Today, costumed interpreters offer summer visitors the opportunity to tour through this very interesting and unique house.








4800 South Service Road
Beamsville, Ontario
L0R 1B1

TEL: 905-563-8205
FAX: 905-563-6566
Emergency After-hours: 905-641-0971

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