Griffin House played a key role in the providing safe haven for Black community that had escaped slavery.
Griffin House is a house built in 1827 by Englishmen in Ancaster. It was purchased by an African-American escaped slave in 1834 who also had enough cash to purchase 50 acres. It offers Underground Railroad tours and history-related programs.
Griffin House was designated as a National Historic Site of Canada in 2008. The house is a rare surviving example of a four-room house typical in Upper Canada in the early 19th century. It was owned by Enerals Griffin, an African American slave from Virginia who escaped to Canada in 1834.
For the next 150 years, their descendants lived and farmed here atop a hill in peace. The property was sold to the Hamilton Region Conservation Authority in 1988. The home was restored between 1992 and 1994. Over 3,000 artefacts were discovered during that period.
The museum in the home is operated as a joint project between the Hamilton Conservation Authority and Fieldcote Memorial Park and Museum. Public visitation and interpretation is offered. The waterfalls, Heritage Falls or Griffin Falls, behind the museum, is also a tourist attraction operated by the Conservation Authority. Wiki
The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister of Labour and Member of Parliament for Hamilton Westannounced announced funding for the restoration of the Griffin House National Historic Site.
These upgrades to an important cultural and historical landmark of Black settlement in Upper Canada will improve accessibility for all visitors, while restoring the heritage features of the house built in 1827. Griffin House was owned by Enerals Griffin, a Black immigrant from Virginia who was likely born a slave but settled as a free man in Canada in 1834. The home remained in his family for 154 years.
The Canadian Government is investing $399,960 in this project through the Community, Culture and Recreation Infrastructure Stream (CCRIS) of the Investing in Canada plan. The Government of Ontario is providing $333,267, while the City of Hamilton is contributing $266,673.
“Hamilton’s many Black communities have long and rich histories. Black people have made fundamental contributions to our city’s economic, political, cultural and social life. The restoration of the Griffin House National Historic Site will help raise awareness and appreciation of Canada’s diverse Black history for many years to come. Canada’s infrastructure plan invests in thousands of projects, creates jobs across the country, and builds cleaner, more inclusive communities.”
The Honourable Filomena Tassi, Minister of Labour
The project will restore the interior structure and finishes, as well as the major components of the building’s exterior, including the foundation, siding, windows, roof and chimney. Additional improvements to the pathways and the installation of porch ramps will make the building accessible to all visitors. Designated a national historic site in 2008, Griffin House is associated with Black settlement in British North America during the first half of the 19th century.
All orders of government continue to work together for the people of Ontario to make strategic infrastructure investments in communities across the province when they need it the most.