Lesson: The Early Settler Home
Topic: Exploring how early settler homes were built
Activity: Designing your own early settler home
- Social Studies
- Pencil crayons, markers
- Blank paper (outlines and final copy of house design)
- Building a House in Upper Canada
- Early Homes in Upper Canada Photographs
- Early Settlers Home vs. Today
Pre-Lesson: Discussion of what early settlers lived in
For this lesson you will need to print off the Building a House in Upper Canada. It is optional to print off the Early Homes in Upper Canada Photographs.
Begin by assessing students’ comprehension of early settlers. Ask students to name key words that describe the experiences of an early settler (i.e. no cars, no electricity, simple lifestyle, etc.) Start writing down student responses of the key words on the board, easel paper or if virtual create list in the chat. To compliment the lesson, have the key words hanging on a visually accessible space in the classroom as a word wall.
This lesson will focus on the process of building a house and characteristics of an early settler home. Provide students with the Building a House in Upper Canada handout and Early Homes in Upper Canada Photographs.
- Download and print the Building a House in Upper Canada handout. If you cannot print, STCM recommend downloading the Adobe or Word version of the handout.
Read the handout aloud to the class or allow students to take turns reading. This will enhance student engagement throughout the lesson while providing the resources for them to review later as students follow along. In addition, while students listen to the teacher read aloud the Building a House in Upper Canada handout by following along, this in turn will assist visual, auditory and kinesthetic learners. For each step of the building a house process, there is a series of photos to show students after they have finished reading Building a House in Early Canada handout.
1. Download the Early Homes in Upper Canada photographs. If facilitating an in-class lesson, print off the photos for physical visuals. If facilitating a virtual class, have students download the photos to view and follow along.
Once students have finished reading the Building a House in Upper Canada and taken the time to evaluate the Early Homes in Upper Canada photographs, students can begin the second half of the activity by working on the Early Settlers Home vs. Today handout. Explain to students that they will be expected to draw the interior and exterior of an early settler home based on what they have reading in the Building a House in Upper Canada handout, and a modern home. Students may use their own home as reference.
1. Download and print the Early Settlers Home vs. Today handout. If facilitating an in-class lesson, print off enough copies for each student. If facilitating a virtual class, have students download and print the Early Settlers Home vs. Today handout. If you cannot print, STCM recommend downloading either the Adobe or Word version and digitally editing the document or on a blank piece of paper, draw out your early settler home design.
Wrap up Discussion
Once students have completed drawing their houses on the Early Settler Home vs Today handout, have students reflect about what they have drawn. Explain students are to consider key characteristics of both homes (early settler and modern) and contemplate the design similarities and differences by completing the Venn Diagram section of the handout. Explain students are to also consider why the houses have changed since early settler times and what has caused this change to occur. Students should think about technology, tools, etc. and the different necessities for homes today versus the early settlement period in Upper Canada. When the students have completed the handout, create a collective classroom Venn Diagram based on student answers. This will allow students to develop a deeper understanding by hearing their classmates’ answers.
Take students on a virtual field trip to visit some of St. Catharines’ earliest built homes. For best results, STCM recommend using Google Earth. If Google Earth cannot be accessed, STCM recommend using Google Maps to travel to your destinations.
Destination 1. William Hamilton Merritt’s House
12 Yates St,
St. Catharines ON
The Merritt family home was built in 1860 with views of the First Welland Canal. The house was donated for use as a military hospital during WWI. The Merritt family returned to their home after the war. In 1938, the building was converted into CKTB radio station also known as 610am or 97.7HTZ-FM.
Destination 2. Thomas Rodman Merritt’s House
109 St. Paul Crescent,
St. Catharines, ON
Thomas Roadman Merritt was born in Mayville, New York in 1824 and died in St. Catharines in 1906. He was the fourth son of the Honourable William Hamilton Merritt (1793-1862). He was the grandson of Thomas Merritt, a United Empire Loyalist, who fled from the United States in 1796, settling in Niagara.
In 1856, Thomas Rodman Merritt built a stone house on twenty acres of land on the edge of what is now known to be downtown St. Catharines. In 1863, the house went under extensive renovations including an addition which became known as Rodman Hall. Today, the house is known as Rodman Hall Art Centre.
Destination 3. Locktenders’ House
77 Bradley St,
St. Catharines, ON
Constructed in 1851, the former Locktenders’ House provided housing accommodations to men tending to the locks of the Welland Canal. The semi-detached, one and one-half storey dwelling is built of sandstone cut from a quarry within 500 feet of the house and accented with limestone corner quoins and stone lintels and sills.
Destination 4. Locktenders’ House
135 Bradley St,
St. Catharines, ON
Built between 1849-1851, this home was originally used as a semi-detached locktenders house and located near the Second Welland Canal. The home is one and one half storey built out of local sandstone and limestone quoins at the corners. This dwelling is one of the few remaining 19th century pink sandstone cottages in St. Catharines. The land on which this home stands was once part of a 100 acre Crown Grant in 1804 to Jacob Ball Sr. It was purchased from the Crown in 1937 by Mr. David M. Florence for $800. The backyard of the property was once a quarry.
92 Henry St,
St. Catharines, ON
Built in 1853 by prominent local builder James Dougan Senior was known most for being used as the Classical and Commercial School by Reverend Thomas D. Phillips from 1862 to 1866. The building has since been used for residential purposes. Although the building has undergone some alterations over 150 years its basic structure remains unchanged. The façade of the home includes a Victorian style veranda and displays mid-nineteenth century Ontario vernacular style.
Destination 6. Mayholme House
525 Ontario St,
St. Catharines, ON
Built in 1857, by Orren Cole, of the Cole Brothers, from Ten Mile Creek in Homer, Mayholme is a two-storey brick house, lived by the May family. William May, a United Empire Loyalist born in upstate New York received a Crown Grant for seven hundred acres of land in Grantham Township in Upper Canada.
William’s eldest son, Peter May received 100 acres of land on Lot 21 next to his father. Peter’s youngest son, George May had Mayholme built by Orren Cole, of the Cole Brothers, from Ten Mile Creek in Homer. George May moved into the home with his wife and daughter Anna Maria.