Hello there future and current University of Guelph students! Can you imagine propping your house up on skids and blocks and moving it across town? If that sounds like a crazy idea to you, now imagine doing so without packing up the house, leaving all the furniture, kitchenware, everything in place while doing so. That is exactly what the University of Guelph did with the historical President’s House in 1912, when local builder Reuben Rogers and his team transported the house from the current location of Creelman’s Hall with horses and round logs to its current location on 100 College Avenue. Amazingly, the movers did so without damaging a single thing! Built in 1882 from local limestone, the President’s House is a great place to visit if your are an Agriculture student or an “Aggie,” as it was built for the President of Agriculture (hence the name). You should also come see the house if you are one that appreciates Guelph and the University’s local history. Perhaps even you are just an architecture aficionado that would enjoy the stone masonry and Italianate Style of the building. Whichever the case, I think we can all agree that the President’s House is an underappreciated piece of Guelph’s history that needs more of our attention!

Black and white photograph. This is a view of the President's House being moved by a team of men and horses. The house is propped up on pieces of wood and logs.  You can see pieces of wood, rails, and logs scattered along the front of the image. There are about 10 men situated in front of the house posing for the picture as well. On the right of the image you can see a white horse and on the left of the image, you can see two black or brown horses.
View of the President’s House being moved on logs and skids. “Photograph of the President’s House being moved, 1912,” Digital Exhibits, accessed 27 January, 2023, https:digex.lib.uoguelph.ca/items/show/3223.
Photo taken of the President's House in colour, now located on College Avenue. You can see a large front lawn of grass, along with ivy and greenery growing along the front of the house. To the left and right of the image, you can see large trees and at the very front of the image, you can see a small view of College Avenue and the adjacent sidewalk. Four sets of window traveling along the first story of the house and two sets of windows along the second story. You can see the house chimney in the top left corner of the image and the pointed arch of the house on the right corner of the image.
View of the President’s House on 100 College Avenue, taken in 1929. “Photograph of the President’s House taken in 1929,” Digital Exhibits, accessed January 27, 2023, https://digex/lib.uoguelph.ca/items/show/3222.

2 responses to “House on the Move!”

  1. euphemia78 Avatar

    Wow, I had never heard this story before! That’s an incredible feat to move a house on logs. I pass by this house every day on my way to campus and I’ve thought lately that the garden looks rather overgrown. Now I am curious if the University currently uses the house in any capacity.


  2. eviemat Avatar

    Euphemia78 I absolutely agree. Apparently the city of Guelph has plans to restore the house back to its original open porch, rather than the closed porch design we see today. I think that would be really amazing if the city were able to do that. The University of Guelph has some amazing history that I am really just getting to know about. I also had never heard about the President’s House prior to this assignment, but I am glad I do now. Can you imagine that not one piece of China shattered? The balance and patience that must have taken!


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