Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Ross House Museum at 140 Meade Street North

Article by Laura McKay, on behalf of the Heritage Winnipeg Corp.
To follow up on this or any other articles on the blog, contact Heritage Winnipeg's Executive Director.


Recent Doors Open Winnipeg photo of Ross House Museum

 Historical Timeline 

1804 - Alexander Ross arrives in Lower Canada from Scotland. He would come to be a prominent fur trader and historian, as well as a pioneer settler of the Red River colony.


1813 - Alexander marries Sarah, an aboriginal woman from British Columbia and the daughter of an Okanagan Chief.


Photo of Alexander Ross, courtesy of the Manitoba Historical Society Website.

1825 - William Ross is born in the Columbia River area of the Rockies, second son of Sarah and Alexander.  

1826 - The family eventually moves east to settle in the Red River Colony.

1828 - Sarah and Alexander are married in the Anglican Church at Red River. The couple would later donate the land on which three successive City Halls have been built at Main Street and William Avenue. 


Archival photo of Ross House, circa 1890, courtesy of the City of Winnipeg historical report.

1835 - Alexander Ross is appointed Sheriff of Assinboia. As sheriff and head of the Volunteer Corps of 60 men used as a police force, he refused to enforce the fur-trade monopoly of the Hudson's Bay Company.

1836 - Alexander becomes a Councillor of Assiniboia. 

1849 -  Alexander publishes his first book, Adventures of the First Settlers on the Oregon and Columbia Rivers.

1851 - William Ross is appointed Sheriff of Assiniboia. 

Detail of the interior construction of the home circa 1958, photo courtesy of the City of Winnipeg historical report.

1854 - William builds a log home on a narrow river lot that was part of his father's extensive farm. The Ross lands extended from the banks of the Red River in Point Douglas as far west as Isabel Street and included the present sites of both Market Square and City Hall. The house is an excellent example of the Red River Frame style of building, inherited from Old France and taken to New France in the days of Champlain, before being carried into the North-West by fur traders.


1855 - William Ross becomes the first postmaster for the Red River Settlement, appointed by the Council of Assiniboia. His salary is £5 per year (less than $2.00 per month). During the first year the new Post Master, whose manuscript postmark is Red River, B.N.A, handles 2912 letters, 2437 newspapers, and 580 parcels. This same year, Alexander publishes his book The Fur Hunters of the Far West.

May 1856 - William passes away after living only two years in his new house, as well as Alexander on October 23. Alexander publishes his last book, The Red River Settlement.





Ross House as the office for Midland Construction, circa 1948. Photo courtesy of the City of Winnipeg historical report.

1948-9 - Ross House is moved from its original location at the foot of Market Avenue, where it was being used as the office of a construction company, to Higgins Avenue near Main Street, to be used as a museum. The building is saved from demolition and moved by the Manitoba Historical Society.

Ross House being moved from its original location in 1948, photo courtesy of the City of Winnipeg Historical Report.

August 11, 1980 - Ross House Museum is designated as a heritage building by the City of Winnipeg.

1983 - Ross House Museum suffers from a termite infestation, as detailed in the article below:



1984 - Ross House is relocated from Higgins Avenue to its present site at 140 Meade Street North.

Souvenir Booklet from the earlier years as a museum.
1985 - Ross House Museum is nominated for a Preservation Award for the relocation of the home to Point Douglas. For more information about Heritage Winnipeg's Annual Preservation Awards, click here.  

Sources & Links

City of Winnipeg Historical Report (Short)
City of Winnipeg Historical Report (Long)
City of Winnipeg Museums Board - Ross House Museum
Doors Open Winnipeg - Ross House Museum
Manitoba Historical Society - Ross House Museum 
MHS Memorable Manitobans - Alexander Ross
MHS Memorable Manitobans - Sarah Ross
MHS Memorable Manitobans - William Ross
Ross House Museum Facebook Page
Ross House Museum on Twitter 

Click to see the form as a PDF


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