In 1875, prominent attorney and one-time Sarnia mayor Robert Sinclair Gurd erected the largest home in town on the southwest corner of Christina Street and London Road.
The site had been occupied by the remains of George Durand’s store, which was the first in Sarnia.
Named Fairholme, the 32-room, three-storey mansion boasted an ornate tower, a ballroom and imported wood and marble throughout.
Some may recall a set of carved stone beavers that sat on either side of the front entrance.
Fairholme, as it was called, remained in the Gurd family until 1943 when it was sold to L. Fraser Heartwell, who converted it into eight apartments.
Mary (Maizie) Gurd resided there until her death in the 1950’s.
The property was sold to Huron and Eric Canada Trust in 1964 with plans to raze the home and erect Sarnia’s first drive-through bank.
Everything that was salvageable was put up for sale, with the result that many pieces from the old home survive today.
John Rochon is a Sarnian with a lifelong passion for local history