THEN AND NOW: The stately and majestic Woodlawn Estate

Minnie V. Muir

This ongoing series from Barrie Historical Archive curator Deb Exel shows old shots from the assortment and a single from the existing working day, as effectively as the story powering them.

Woodlawn — 96 Sunnidale Road  

At the corner of Sunnidale Highway and what made use of to be Oliver Road, stands one of the most impressive estates in Barrie – Woodlawn.

City legend has it that Oliver Road was named for Dr. Llewellyn E. Oliver, who experienced subdivided the spot regarded as the Oliver Block. Oliver and his household came to Barrie from England in 1853. Richard Jose Oliver, the father, owned the Northern Progress from 1854 via 1862.

Oliver Street ran involving Sunnidale Street and then unnamed Anne Road. It was altered to Shirley Avenue in 1910 to stay clear of becoming bewildered with the other Oliver Road in the east stop of town.

Dr. Oliver basically begun out in existence with a much more modest occupation, as a ticket seller, in Allandale, for the Ontario, Simcoe and Huron Union Railroad Company. This was a small-lived profession – Oliver commenced health-related experiments in Toronto, then in 1859, he was off to Harvard University, finally attaining his diploma from the Western Homeopathic College or university in Cleveland, Ohio. Dr. Oliver was working towards in Barrie by the early 1870s in his office on Dunlop Road, married George Burton’s widow in 1872. Llewellyn Oliver was a associate in the steamboat small business, Burton and Oliver, and was Barrie’s healthcare officer of health and fitness, coroner of Simcoe County and surgeon for the Barrie jail for quite a few yrs.

On a practically parallel timeline, Duncan J. Murchison and his spouse and children arrived to Barrie from Hamilton in 1854. Murchison, a dry items service provider, purchased quite a few acres of the Oliver Block from Oliver in 1873 for the sum of $1,350. The builder of Woodlawn is unidentified but the dwelling is believed to have been constructed among 1874 and 1876 (information are sketchy). Duncan John Murchison lived at Woodlawn until he died of pneumonia in 1900.

The Murchisons, Duncan and Rebecca, daughter of former Toronto City Commissioner W.H. Stotsbury, had five children. Duncan Jr., a lawyer with McCarthy Boys and Murchison, was Town Treasurer in 1897 and was married to builder George Ball’s daughter Minnie. When his father passed away, Duncan Jr. inherited Woodlawn.

These days, Woodlawn is each little bit as superb as it was 145 several years back, standing stately and majestic on its wooded ravine ton. It nevertheless retains so considerably of its showy Gothic Revival woodwork, gracious balcony and verandah, below that radically steep roof. Certainly worthy of slowing down to have a search at this beautifully preserved mansion!

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