Chestnut Hall

Chestnut Hall, Ross Memorial Library

Chestnut Hall

Chestnut Hall, located on Montague Street in St. Andrews, was constructed in 1824 for Harris Hatch, who began his legal career as an attorney in 1808. In 1810, Hatch was appointed the Registrar of Deeds and Wills for Charlotte County, and also served in the county’s militia for an extended period. His political career advanced when he became a member of the Legislative Assembly in 1838 and took on the role of Commissioner for Estates and Bankruptcy in Charlotte County in 1842.

Hatch was a prominent figure in the community, holding positions such as president of the Charlotte County Bank and the Agricultural Society, and was involved with the St. Andrews and Quebec Railway company. He passed away in 1839, and his son, Harris Hatch Jr., followed in his footsteps as Judge of Probate. Chestnut Hall remained in the family, under the ownership of Hatch’s daughter, Mrs. James David Green, until 1902.

Chestnut Hall Ross Museum

In 1920, Grace Helen Mowatt acquired Chestnut Hall and established her retail business, “Cottage Craft,” there, which she ran for 18 years. Mowatt had previously founded Charlotte County Cottage Craft in 1915, aiming to provide income for local women and to revive traditional crafts. She organized the county and neighbouring regions into districts, each overseen by a forewoman, where women worked on weaving, knitting, hooking, doll-making, and embroidery using local materials. This initiative not only supported local women but also helped in preserving traditional skills, the influence of which is still evident in the area.

Henry Phipps Ross and Sarah Juliette Ross, an American couple, discovered the charm of St. Andrews during a visit in 1902. Over the years, they developed a deep connection with the town and eventually bought Chestnut Hall in 1938. They used it to display their extensive collection of fine furniture, oriental carpets, and artworks from their global travels.

Ross Memorial Museum

In 1945, the Ross family donated Chestnut Hall to St. Andrews, transforming it into a museum to exhibit their collection and express their fondness for the town.

Ross Museum. Photo Tripadvisor
Ross Museum. Photo Tripadvisor

They also contributed funds and plans for the construction of a new library. Today, both the Ross Memorial Museum and Ross Memorial Library are significant attractions in St. Andrews, with portraits of both the original owners and the Ross family adorning the walls of Chestnut Hall.

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