David Thompson I acquired the lands known as Ruthven Park around 1841. He built the mansion in 1845-46 and spent the rest of his life developing the estate including the 34 hectare Picturesque landscape that surrounds the Classical Revival house.
From the late 19th century onwards, Thompson’s heirs added outbuildings but did little to change the site. Today Ruthven Park consists of the Mansion and its attached wings and related outbuildings, the Picturesque landscape surrounding the mansion, and other landscape elements including the Indiana Cemetery and the Thompson family cemetery, the gate house, Hill House, the coach house and piggery.
The interior of the mansion includes furniture and artifacts associated with all generations of the Thompson family who inhabited the building. Furniture and objects associated with David Thompson are arranged alongside early 20th century items introduced by later generations. A 1960’s kitchen and improvements to living quarters and amenities in the house reflect the lives of David Thompson’s descendents.
As stewards of the property, the Lower Grand River Trust continues to interpret the house and its surroundings not as an artifact of a single time period; but as it evolved and changed with each generation of the Thompson family.
Ruthven Park Estate Buildings
The Gate House
The Gate House continues to stand at the entrance to Ruthven Park where guests in the past or present pass by on their way into the estate.
The Greek Revival mansion was constructed between 1845 and 1847. It became the home of five generations of the Thompson family. The goal of conservation is to preserve all generations.
The Drill Hall
The Drill Hall, also known as the East Service Wing, was added to the back of the mansion during the second generation as an area for employees of Ruthven Park to work on various household chores.
The Carriage Way
The Carriage Way is located on the south of the mansion attached to the Drill Hall. The east section was used as a workshop while the west section for domestic chores such as churning butter.
The Coach House
Originally a stable, the exterior of the Coach House has been reconstructed and converted into a meeting space in the interior.
Once used to house pigs, the piggery is now home to our bird banding lab.
Hill House, the last remaining residential structure from the ghost town of Indiana and stands on the hill to the north of the entrance to Ruthven Park.
Ruthven Park's Designation and Easement
Ruthven Park is designated by municipal by-law under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act and has a Heritage Conservation Easement Agreement registered on title that is held by the Ontario Heritage Trust. To find out more about the cultural heritage value of Ruthven Park, please visit the Ontario Heritage Trust’s web page for a description of the Ruthven Park estate as well as the municipal designating by-law at http://www.heritagetrust.on.ca/en/oha/details/file?id=2234