The Lawrence House Centre for the Arts, 127 Christina Street South
Year Built: 1892-1893
Original Owner: Eliza Jane Lawrence (William F. Lawrence, tenant)
Present Owner: City of Sarnia
Lumber baron, William F. Lawrence built this Queen Anne style house in1892 at a cost of $30,000. Highlights of the structure’s interior include a large alcove stairway, 5 spacious bedrooms on the second floor and a tower room on the third floor that served as a children’s games room.
The exterior features the tower, the circular bay window in the southeast corner of the second level, and the tall decorated chimney on the south side of the house.
The last Lawrence family member to live in the house died in 1940. In 1977,the house was donated to the City by surviving family members. Thanks to the generosity of Suncor, a local industry, the Lawrence House was renovated and served as an art and audio visual centre of the Sarnia Public Library.
It is now home to the Lawrence House Centre for the Arts.
This large two storey brick Victorian House set in spacious grounds has a hipped gable roof with a variety of projections and heights giving it an asymmetrical design. The slate roof is trimmed with decorative eaves. The fascia and frieze are of moulded wood and elaborated brackets decorate the soffit.
Extending from the south wall is a large two storey bay window with a gable roof.
Located to the front right of the façade is a circular tower with a conical roof peaked with an urn. The roof line of this tower is broken by a decorated gable roofed dormer.
A large oriel window projects from the left corner of the façade and like the tower it too has a conical roof. This window has three curved stained glass panes. The base is wooden and extends downwards to form a column supported by a stone block.
The typical windows found on both the first and second storey are traditional Victorian windows. They have elongated sashes without any dividing panes set in a segmental
Stained glass is common in many of the windows including the relatively large picture window on the façade fronting Christina Street.
A single stack chimney extends through the gable projection on the southern section of the roof. The tall narrow structure is decorated with a large corbelled lip and is supported to the roof by a long tie rod.
The main entrance doorway is off centre to the façade. The double doors are each decorated with two shaped panels and a stained glass window. The trim outside the segmental opening is of brick laid in a voussoir pattern. Inside the opening a flat stained glass transom surrounded by moulded wood trims the double doors.
A large fountain existed on the south east corner of the property.
William Lawrence used typical Ontario wood such as white pine, oak and birch to construct and decorate his home. A unique feature to the wood is the hand-painted wood
grain which he used to simulate various exotic wood types. This is evident in the living-room which appears to be decorated with bird’s eye maple. The pattern of the bird’s eye
maple grain has been panted on another type of wood.
The unique plaster patterns found around the light fixtures are quite elaborate. Plaster patterns are also found on the large arches which form entrances to various rooms throughout the house.
Combination gas and electric light fixtures remain in many of the rooms.
The main interior staircase leading to the second floor is of black walnut, oak and birch. A large hand-painted mirror is situated at the foot of the staircase just above the landing.
The narrow servants’ staircases are still intact, leading from the basement to both the first and second floors. From the second floor a small narrow staircase leads to the children’s
playroom in the attic which includes the third floor of the tower.
Located in the living room is an enormous mirror which covers the south east corner wall of the room.
An interesting feature throughout the entire house is the high baseboards. In the upper storey room the baseboards are higher than the window sills.
The old mantel fireplaces displaying elaborate woodwork and fine detail remain in the house.
In April, 1901, William F. Lawrence had a fountain installed on the front lawn of the
The Victorian Home is an excellent and rare example of Queen Anne architecture in the City of Sarnia. The variety of roof heights and numerous projections depict the Victorian
Architecture. The conical shaped roof above the oriel window and tower are typical of the Queen Anne style.
The quality of detailing and workmanship displayed throughout the house is excellent.
The decorative woodwork on the base of the oriel window as well as numerous stained glass windows add to the character of this house.
The roof is covered with slate shingles which is a rare material within the Sarnia area.
The architectural merits displayed in this house make it a very important building. The Lawrence House establishes and maintains Sarnia’s variety of architecture.
Lumber baron, William F. Lawrence built this Queen Anne style house in 1892 at a cost of $30,000. Highlights of the structure’s interior include a large alcove stairway, 5 spacious
bedrooms on the second floor and a tower room on the third floor that served as a children’s games room.
The exterior design features such intriguing aspects as the tower itself, the circular bay window in the southeast corner of the second level, and the tall decorated chimney on the
south side of the house.