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COLUMN: Stately home rich in local history about to be sold

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Phil Egan

It dates from a time before Sarnia was a city, built by a man who served as its mayor.

The gracious home at 115 Christina St. South was constructing in 1900 or 1901 by Thomas Doherty, the president and owner of the Doherty Stove Works on Wellington Street.

But not long after Doherty – who would die in office as mayor in 1916 – sold the Queen Anne-style home to Harry Loughead.

Loughead manufactured munitions during the First World War and later, as part of the Loughead-Seagrave Company in the 1920s, made early motorized fire engines.

The Loughead family was well known throughout Sarnia-Lambton. Harry’s father had been an Oil Springs resident since 1860 and was one of the oil industry’s early executives.

Harry Loughead died in 1958 and the home passed to his son, Brock, who was still living there in 1983 when the Sarnia Heritage Committee compiled a list of historic homes.

The property became a bed and breakfast, a women’s clothing shop, and a tearoom.

It was acquired in 2005 by Louise and Dougall Meloney, and it was Mr. Meloney’s recent passing that resulted in it now going on the market. At press time, a listing was expected any day.

Inside, the High Victorian style is evident throughout with lofty ceilings, intricate woodworking and an overall sense of quality. History pervades the four-bedroom, two bathroom residence, which features a parlour, family room, kitchen and a large, three-storey bell-topped tower featuring a top-storey bandshell verandah.

It’s a gem, but the grand old lady does need work.

Historic artifacts abound throughout and they are being offered for sale with the property.

Among them are 100-year-old, unopened bottles of wine and liquor. Multiple cellar door locks attest to a rumour the home had a rum-running past during Prohibition.

In the parlour, a tin ceiling is said to hide bullet holes from one of Harry Loughead’s accidental ammunition firings gone awry.

Period photos line the walls. This writer, an amateur local historian, was struck by one large family portrait displayed on a reception-area wall. It’s an early 20th century portrait of the Reid family.

Jim Reid was a Sarnia-based sailor and tug-man who towed log rafts and salvaged shipwrecks. Son Thomas, also pictured, was another salvage captain famed throughout the Great Lakes. His many exploits are described in the book, The Salvager.

The sale of 115 Christina St. S. is expected to draw interest from as far as the GTA and go for a price in the mid-six figure range or higher.

Phil Egan is editor-in-chief of the Sarnia Historical Society. Got an interesting tale? Contact him at [email protected]



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