Welcome to Rockwood Heaven
The Diamond's House [#19]
363 Main Street
This house was built as a manse for the Methodist church and has such elegant features as dome ceilings in the bedrooms and gothic windows. The front door still has the original bell and key. As with several of Rockwood's oldest buildings, this house is built directly on the rock which is never far below the surface. Once a space was cleared on the rock, tree trunks were hewn into serviceable beams and the house was erected on this solid foundation. This house is of "bubble" construction. This means that there are two separate walls - interior and exterior - with a space or "bubble" between them. This was doubtless an early method of insulating. The house now has vinyl siding and insulation has been blown into the bubble space as a more practical means of reducing heating costs.
J. J. Hill Plaque [#8]
178 Guelph Street
The student from the Rockwood Academy who became most famous was James Jerome Hill. He was born in 1838 near Rockwood and attended the Academy until having to leave school to help his mother after the death of his father. After working for some years in the Rockwood area, James went to the northern United States where, by a combination of hard work and innovative ideas, he was instrumental in the development of the railways and is, by some, credited with being the greatest railway builder of any age. Mr. Hill never forgot his roots in Rockwood and his old teacher, Mr. Wetherald. He invited Mr. Wetherald to his home in St. Paul, Minnesota and offered him a position as teacher to his own children. While Mr. Wetherald, by this time a Quaker minister, did not accept the offer, one of his sons went to St. Paul and became successful in the railway business.
The plaque reads:
JAMES JEROME HILL
Born near Rockwood, Upper Canada, Hill moved to Minnesota in 1856 settling at St. Paul. Having organized the Red River Transportation Company which provided effective transportation between St. Paul and Winnipeg, he had begun, by 1878, to build his vast railway empire. A member of the Board of the CPR (1880-3) he subsequently became its greatest competitor and by 1889 had organized the Great Northern System. As President of that System (1893-9) and Chairman of the Board (1907-12) he built numerous feeder lines reaching to the Canadian border.
Squire's Lodge [#7]
160 Guelph Street
The description below was written some time ago. Since that time Squire's Lodge has undergone a complete makeover including extra additions.
This seniors' residence is a recent addition to the Rockwood landscape. It has 26 apartments for seniors and is managed by a volunteer board of directors. The interesting thing about this building is its exterior appearance. The design was created by an award-winning architect and, while the shape was found acceptable, people objected to the multicolored siding. It is said that opponents called Rockwood a "red brick community" and wanted something more in keeping. However, apparently the architect won out and the building was finished with the coloured siding which is still there today. Sarcastic individuals still maintain that the builder got a good deal on leftovers - and just used what he had. And that's the beginning of another local legend.
Retaining Wall on Main Street [#10]
This wall was built in 1933 according to the date stone. A Rockwood resident remembers her father telling of working on the wall and being advised by a passerby that it "wouldn't last"! Here it stands over 69 years later.
Millicent Milroy's Home [#9]
132 Richardson Street
One of Rockwood's interesting characters was Millicent Milroy who died in 1985 at over 90 years of age. Although the appearance of the home is greatly altered, she lived in this then poor house on Richardson Street and could be seen walking around the village poorly dressed. It is likely that she lived very frugally, though this is hard to confirm. Millicent maintained that not only was she the daughter of King James of Scotland but that she was married to King Edward VIII of England the Duke of Windsor. Though it is difficult to confirm this information, there are local residents who say that letters, possibly cheques, used to arrive regularly from England. Millicent's tombstone in a cemetery in Cambridge, Ontario reads: Millicent Mary Maureen Marguerite, Princess of the Royal House of Stuart, wife of Edward VIII, the Duke of Windsor. Millicent claims that she met Edward when he visited Cambridge (then Galt) in 1919 and they entered into a morganatic marriage - a legal arrangement but with the agreement that the wife and any offspring would have no claim on the husband's estate or title. While Millicent's claim cannot be proven, her story remains a cherished part of Rockwood lore.
The Groundskeeper's Cottage [#20]
110 Frederick Street
This stone home was originally built as the groundskeeper's cottage for the Rockwood Academy.
The Old Swimming Hole [#14]
Generations of Rockwood children learned to swim in the "swimming hole" above the mill dam on the Eramosa River. After the swimming area was fenced off by the Rapps, owners of the old grist mill, a piece of Rockwood tradition passed into the realm of memories