St. Marys Museum as it looked in 1902.
The Castle in the Bush
The community museum for the Town of St. Marys is located in a lovely old home sitting on a hilltop in a park at 177 Church Street South. It was constructed from locally quarried limestone in 1854. When George Tracy, an early settler to St. Marys, built it for his family, it was by far the largest home in the small village of log shanties. Almost immediately, it was nicknamed the Castle in the Bush. It has been the location of the St. Marys Museum since 1959.
Visitors interested in 19th-century construction are welcome to visit at any time throughout the year. They will see exhibits and materials on local history and can also explore the interior of the house itself. Although it has not been restored to any fixed historic period, it contains a great number of original features from 1854: pine flooring, four fireplaces, plaster crown moldings, high ceilings and strange sets of small rooms off larger chambers.
Community archives opened in 2006.
Local history research
A popular feature of the St. Marys Museum is the area for research into local history. A new wing for this community archives was opened in June 2006. The addition to the north of the original building is completely accessible and is well used by researchers throughout the year.
As well as municipal records, census indexes, listings for area cemeteries, local marriage, birth and death records, maps, photographs, family and community histories, this archives features St. Marys newspapers dating back to 1857. The newspaper archival materials were officially donated to the Museum in March 2007 by their last private owner. In recognition, the research area has been named: R. Lorne Eedy Archives.
Friends of the Museum
Joanne and Joyce from St. Marys Landscaping check measurements for the Rotary Club’s planned cascade of crocuses.
Restorations in works
for 160th anniversary
Spring has arrived!
Cadzow Park and the St. Marys Museum are enjoying warm weather at last. Many projects are underway. As well as finishing touches on the Museum’s back veranda, rebuilt in 2013, work will soon begin to repair and restore the impressive two-storey veranda facing Church Street. The lovely old limestone house will be in great shape for its 160th birthday throughout 2014. Museum staff have organized a number of special events to celebrate this historic property. As summer staff are hired and projects get finalized, more information will be available. Check Facebook for up-to-the-minute information.
This fall in Cadzow Park, the Rotary Club of St. Marys will plant a cascade of crocuses down the hillside on the south side of the Museum. This is part of an initiative to achieve worldwide eradication of polio – a major project of Rotary International. The local club is planning various events for September to encourage people to purchase bulbs. This spring, club members are making decisions with St. Marys Landscaping Ltd. and Museum staff for the best location for the flowers. The bulbs will naturalize, and after their spring blooming the leaves will be trimmed back as part of regular park maintenance.
In the meantime, spring 2014 has brought even more visitors to the Resource Centre to use the Museum’s reference materials to search for ancestors, to look into the history of their property or to find information for any number of other local projects. If you are planning a visit to the Resource Centre – especially if you are coming from out of town – it would be a good idea to book ahead to reserve space.
Show your support for the St. Marys Museum. Buy a membership during your next visit or download a membership form.