Letter to the Essex Mayor, Town Council, and Heritage Committee

To the Mayor of the Town of Essex, Members of Town Council, and the Heritage Committee,

It has come to the attention of the Windsor/Essex Branch of the Architectural Conservancy of
Ontario that the home described as the “1813 John Snider House” in Colchester and which is
chronicled in the Town of Essex’s heritage listing of the Tofflemire Snider Cemetery as “the oldest
home in Essex County,” (link) is neither heritage listed or designated. This is a cause of great
concern for our branch especially as this house is currently undergoing work.

While it is too soon to tell if the upgrades to this home, which was built in 1813 and is reputed to have a cannonball from the Battle of Lake Erie in its walls, will be sensitive to the heritage value of the structure, a point has been raised in that this home which holds a deep heritage value for the Town of Essex could one day simply disappear without warning to Council or the Public.

We understand that the home was and may still be owned by a descendant of John Snider. We know that the owner has been a great steward for the property and has taken pride in keeping the home in an original state and, in the past, that might be why the Town has hesitated to make a move toward designation. There will come a day when this home changes hands and subsequent owners may not be as sensitive to the historic nature of the property. The municipality could suffer a catastrophic historical heritage loss and would have no recourse. Once a heritage home is demolished, that structure is lost forever, and it would be a shame to lose one that has been so respected and well kept and which holds such meaning for the historic Town of Colchester.

Thank you for taking the time to consider the contents of this letter. We hope that you will start to take the appropriate steps to safeguard this heritage treasure.

Thank you,
The Members of the Windsor/Essex Branch of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario
via Tammy Dewhirst, Chair.

Pictured is the 1813 John Snider House pre-cladding removal.

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