Built in 1882 by local stonemasons, this residence was built for the Professor of Agriculture, whose position was considered more important than that of the Principal or President of the Ontario Agricultural College. Originally built on the current site of Creelman Hall, the house was moved across College Ave. in 1912 by local “builder/mover” Reuben Rogers. Rogers and his team jacked up the house and transported it on blocks, rails and skids with all the furniture in place. Unbelievably, not a dish was cracked and the pendulum clock on the living room wall didn’t miss a beat during the move.
George Irving Christie (1928-1947) was the first President to occupy the house; previous to him, Presidents lived in an apartment in Johnston Hall. Mordechai Rozanski was the last President to occupy the house in 2003; it is now used as a site for official University functions.
This two-storey home was built by local stonemasons in 1882, using quarried limestone. The President’s House is a fine example of the Gothic Revival/Italianate style that was popular in eastern Canada at the time. The residence was built for the professor of agriculture at the Ontario Agricultural College and Experimental Farm and was designed to enhance the reputation of the school’s model farm among Ontario’s rural population.
The unprecedented growth in enrolment and the heavy demand for agricultural research and extension education required improvement in facilities at the college around the turn of the century. President George Creelman identified a need for a new dining hall (Creelman Hall) and selected the site of the residence of the professor of agriculture. In 1912, this house was moved across College Avenue to facilitate the building of the dining hall. The move was masterfully carried out by local “builder/mover” Reuben Rogers. Rogers jacked up the house and transported it on blocks, rails and skids using cables, capstans, and three teams of horses, with furniture and dishes still in place. Not a dish was cracked, and a pendulum clock on the living room wall never missed a beat during the move.
The house continued as the residence of the professor of agriculture until 1928 when George Irving Christie (1928-1947), as a condition of his employment, became the first president to occupy the house. Previously, all principals and presidents of the college lived in an apartment in old Johnston Hall. Thereafter called the “President’s House,” it has served since 1928 as the residence of both Ontario Agricultural College and University of Guelph presidents and a site for official University functions.
The free-standing plaque is located to the right of the walkway to the President’s House. The President’s House can be viewed from College Avenue or from the walkway to the right of Macdonald Hall.