Plaqued Houses and Buildings
337 Trafalgar Road - Kerosene Kastle
Kerosene Kastle is now occupied by MacLachlan College, a private day school.
Property Details:
This house, Kerosene Castle, was built about 1856 by Richard Shaw Wood, owner of The Oakville Oil Refinery which stood across the street. The refinery produced kerosene or coal oil - hence the name - and was one of the largest in Canada. Wood, who came to Oakville from Bermuda in the late 1850s, was essentially a promoter and a man of many parts. He habitually wore a fur hat even in the summer to show his affluence rather than because of the climate. In 1866 the refinery burned down, as chronicled in this 13 July 1866 report in the Hamilton Spectator entitled Great Fire At Oakville. Burning oil floated downstream as far as the harbour. The fire was caused by a defect in a new very large still which had recently been installed. The fire burned all day and destroyed four other stills, the storage tanks and several wooden buildings. The refined oil was saved. No attempt was made to rebuild and for years the river bank was strewn with debris. Until quite recently oil was still seeping up into the marsh at the foot of the hill.

Captain Francis Brown's house across the street from the mill/electricity generator was seriously endangered but didn't burn during the final fire. The black walnut tree currently flanking the entrance walk sprouted from the stumps of those killed by that 1893 fire.
The stack for the boilers remained for many years until demolished by dynamite in 1911.

Subsequent owners included E. A. Orr and William S. Savage. Mr. Savage was an active member of St. John's United Church

The house was a single-family residence until the mid-1900s when it was split to become a nursing home on one side and apartments on the other. Miss Diana Taylour operated the nursing home. She had been a nurse in the First World War and was awarded the Order of the British Empire for her service.

In 1978 it started its transformation into MacLachlan College, a private day school.

The building is in a style called Second Empire which came to Canada from France in the mid to late 1800s during the Second Empire of Napoleon III. The style was very popular for public buildings for a short time. For smaller buildings and houses the style is less elaborate but is still ornate and features high windows with elegant mouldings. Note the typical mansard roof with gabled or elliptical dormers. This building features an oriel window on the front of the tower.
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337 Trafalgar Road337 Trafalgar Road
337 Trafalgar Road  historic plaque337 Trafalgar Road historic plaque
337 Trafalgar Road  when it was known as 337 Trafalgar Road when it was known as "The Savage House
337 Trafalgar Road  - 1897 - The E. A. Orr house337 Trafalgar Road - 1897 - The E. A. Orr house
Wlliam S. SavageWlliam S. Savage
Obituary of DIana Taylour, October 24, 1954Obituary of DIana Taylour, October 24, 1954