As of June, visitors to Ruthven Park National Historic Site will be greeted in a new administration building currently under construction adjacent to the parking lot within the public area of the site.
Ruthven Park administration noted the new location better enables visitor interaction with staff who can work closer to the historic buildings where activities on site most often take place.
The building will accommodate staff offices, a small gift shop, exhibit area, and meeting space and maximize the use of utilities already present at the public washroom building.
It will also keep the modern building out of the picturesque landscape, protect the historic views from the mansion and minimize the disturbance of the cultural resources, vegetation and ecology of the site.
The red brick Gate House office has served as the point of entry to the Site since 2001. Built in the 1860s, it was originally a house for the Ruthven Park gate keeper. The Thompson family rented it to local families for many years until The Lower Grand River Land Trust Inc. took over the site in the 1990s.
Unfortunately, the building as it stands today is not accessible for persons with disabilities, staff have no privacy, there is very limited room to work, and the 1950s addition to the historic footprint of the Gate House is not in keeping with the original architecture. The new purpose of the Gate House will be to act as storage and additional staff workspaces.
The Lower Grand River Land Trust Inc. Board has been working on plans for the new building over the past year, and was recently approved for a grant of some $12,000 through Haldimand county’s Rural Business and Tourism Community Improvement Plan to help assist with the cost of construction.
Local contractor Harrison Brothers Contracting Inc. was the successful bidder. The building is a bit behind schedule due to unseasonal weather conditions, but the framing is expected to be up sometime next week.
For a step back in time, visit the beautiful Ruthven site this summer to enjoy the landscape, mansion tours, public events, and the new welcoming atmosphere of the administration building.
For more information about Ruthven, visit ruthvenparknationalhistoricsite.com