University of Guelph Campus
Description of Historic Place
The Alumni Centre is situated on top of a hill, on Arboretum Road, near the East Residence complex on the University of Guelph campus, in the City of Guelph. This wooden building was designed in the utilitarian rural style of architecture in the 1870s. The Alumni Centre was constructed in 1879 for use by the Ontario Agricultural College’s President.
The property was designated for its historic and architectural significance, by the City of Guelph, under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (By-law1982-10923).
This building is one of the oldest surviving structures on the original campus of the Ontario Agricultural College, now the University of Guelph. Built as the College Principal’s carriage house, for the President’s horse and buggy, harnesses and other trappings. Two Presidents, James Mills and his son-in-law George Creelman, utilized the carriage house in its original location at the rear of the President’s house. However, in the late 1920s it was moved to Arboretum Road to accommodate the construction of a steam tunnel for the rebuilt Johnston Hall and became the Alumni Centre.
On Arboretum Road, in the centre of campus, the moved carriage house became an annex to the sheep barns. In the mid-1930s the central barns burned down and the carriage house was extended on both sides to house the sheep, from which it gained the common name of the Sheep Barn. In 1967, the flock was moved to a new research facility in New Liskeard. In the 1980s, the building was renovated and became the Alumni House, acting as the Alumni headquarters and housing the Department of Alumni Affairs and Development, for the University of Guelph.
The shape and form of the Alumni Centre illustrate the utilitarian rural architecture of the 1870s. This wooden building was constructed using board and batten cladding and a timber-frame. The placement and type of windows and doors, as well as the four ventilation cupolas on the roof ridge, contribute to its unique architectural style.
Sources: University of Guelph, Volume 25, Number 44, December 14, 1981; University of Guelph, Volume 29, Number 42, December 5, 1985; City of Guelph, By-law 1982-10923.
Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the Sheep Barn include its:
– shape and form illustrating utilitarian rural architecture of the 1870s
– timber frame construction
– board and batten cladding
– location and type of doors and windows
– four ventilation cupolas on the roof ridge