History and Heritage

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Auchmar was built in 1854 on land that the Honourable Isaac Buchanan had purchased

Auchmar was built in 1854 on land that the Honourable Isaac Buchanan had purchased two years previously. Its name was taken from the Auchmar estate on Loch Lomond, Scotland, which Buchanan’s family owned. Over the years the magnificent house on the Hamilton mountain was visited by such notables as Sir John A. Macdonald, Sir Allan MacNab, Pope John Paul II (when he was Cardinal) and the Prince of Wales during an 1860 Royal visit. Auchmar still stands on 10 acres of an eighty-six acre spread that Buchanan called Clairmont Park. It was considered an elegant example of gothic revival architecture with its arched windows, eleven chimneys, gables, and French doors.

Interview with Rob Hamilton

Rob Hamilton has been a lover of architecture for most of his life. He’s also a researcher and librarian by profession. It was this combination of interest and skill that led him to begin learning about the designer of the Hamilton’s iconic Herkimer Apartments, at the corner of Bay St. and Herkimer. Once underway, his research revealed the life of one of Hamilton’s great architects – William Palmer Witton. In the late 1890’s, Witton trained under Louis Sullivan and Dankmar Adler in Chicago. Sullivan is considered one of America’s great architects. Adler was known as a great structural engineer. Frank Lloyd Wright also worked for Sullivan. Witton returned to Hamilton and began his career as a designer of some of Hamilton’s most significant buildings. The exhibition features Rob Hamilton’s research that traces Witton’s career from his birth in Hamilton in 1871. It contains many images of his work throughout Hamilton, both past and present.. If you’re a Hamiltonian, you’ll be amazed at how many of the buildings you will recognize, even though you may never have heard of W. P. Witton.

The Jewish Hamilton Project

The Jewish Hamilton Project features Jewish Hamiltonians reminiscing and reflecting on their experiences of living Jewish lives in Hamilton. The project focuses on areas of everyday life such as education, the Synagogues, the neighbourhood, occupations and anti-semitism. In the process, the view comes to appreciate the vibrancy of Jewish community life in Hamilton particularly during the 1930s through the 1960s.