Stories That Move You

ION Kitchener Market: Mansions, Masons, and Midterms

Forest Hill Garden, Kitchener

P000517 Forest Hill Garden, Kitchener, ca. 1878 (WHS Collection)

Do you know how the ION Kitchener Market station is connected with mansions, masons and midterms?

The answer lies just up the track on the right hand. It’s the site of Cameron Heights Collegiate, which has a very interesting history.

On this property, back in the 1850’s, the palatial home, known as Forest Hill Gardens and pictured above, was built by George Davidson, first post master of Berlin and the first sheriff of the County of Waterloo. His home was situated on elevated land which had a fine view to the northeast. It soon became a showcase property, which included hedges, meandering paths and trails, a pond, groves of elm and maple, gazebos, and gardens.

Following Davidson’s death on 27 April 1881, the house was purchased by George Rumpel, felt and boot manufacturer and, one-time mayor of Berlin. A lofty portico, supported by 4 large pillars was added to the house. The Rumpel mansion had a splendid interior – crowded with elegant tables, burnished metal lamps, and graceful statues. Later, his son, Oscar Rumpel, sub-divided the property, laid out curved streets and built a number of attractive homes in the area.

The 1.4 acre property was purchased by Masonic Temple Company from the Kitchener Park Board in 1955 for the sum of $17,000. The house was renovated as a masonic temple, known as Temple Lodge. It remained a masonic lodge until February 1966, when it was sold to the Board of Education for the future site of Cameron Heights Collegiate Institute. The house was demolished later that year.

Construction of the school began in 1967-1968. Cameron Heights Collegiate opened in 1969.

Cheers, Karen

This is post 15 of 19 in the Stories That Move You series.

Stories that Move You is a Kitchener Public Library project that celebrates the launch of ION service with curated collections of reads, music, audio, learning resources, and local history to help people make the most of an unique window of time during their public transit ride.