I accidentally stumbled across a National Historic Site today.
I’d planned only a walk in Kitchener’s Victoria Park, not a museum outing. Somehow (but not surprisingly) I got lost and ended up on Queen Street, where I saw the sign for Joseph Schneider Haus. I’d never been there, though I’d heard of it. It’s a living history museum – costumed staff demonstrate traditional household tasks as they would’ve been performed on a 19th century Mennonite homestead.
However, my accidental visit occurred two days before the museum opens for the season. I had to make do with nosing around the exterior.
The house is set back from the road, and a couple of massive conifers obscure what had been the front entrance (the current front door is handle-less because the museum entrance is now around the side), so I may have missed it entirely without the signage.
In the early 1800s, the Schneider family, early Pennsylvania-German Mennonite settlers, built their home and a sawmill here. The two-storey frame house (considered Kitchener’s oldest dwelling) still survives and has been carefully restored. A number of outbuildings – a bake house, a wash house, a spring house – have been reconstructed based on archaeological evidence of this early Mennonite homestead.
It’s probably a lovely site in the warm weather months, when the kitchen garden’s in full swing and there’s a buzz of activity. So I’ll be back later this year, with the family in tow, to explore the interior of the historic house, too.
If I can find my way back, of course.
Thanks to Norm for hosting Thursday Doors. Thanks, too, for stopping by.