The Guild House (the venue for the art & craft market at 80 Queen Street South) has a long but rather exciting history. The land where the Guild House now stands was originally a Crown Grant to Caleb Reynolds on December 15, 1796. He sold it in 1803 to Jean Baptiste Rousseau, whose widow sold it again on June 12, 1816 to James Mills and Peter Hess. At that time the property consisted of all the land between Bay Street and Locke Street, and between the Mountain and the Bay. On June 24, 1816 the two owners divided the property in half and James Mills retained the portion west of Queen Street, about 240 acres (at $2.00 per acre). At his death in 1852, the property was inherited by his fourth son, James Nelson Mills who began erecting low cost housing on the site.
Other important dates/people:
- January 5, 1876 James Nelson Mills was murdered over a maintenance dispute – the murderer (Michael McConnell) was represented by John Crerar, who would go on to be one of the founders of the Garrick Club, later renamed the Player’s Guild.
- The property was sold my Nelson Mills’ widow to Thomas Brock Fuller (the first Bishop of Niagara) who built a large home on the site in 1878, however, financial difficulties forced him to later sell.
- The Player’s Guild of Hamilton purchased the property in 1951 and have owned it ever since.
- In 1958 the Guild added a rehearsal hall and painted the exterior.
Learn more about the history of this beautiful building, and take a look around for yourself – visit the Queen & Jackson art & craft market!