Plaqued Houses and Buildings
241 Trafalgar Road - Potter's Folly
John Potter never lived here, despite the traditional name for the home.
Property Details:
John Potter was born in 1811 in Nova Scotia and arrived in Oakville as a young man to work on construction of the harbour piers. He settled here with his wife Elizabeth and their two daughters, Mary and Jerusha.

He became a shipwright and house builder and was a tenant on the south part of this property, which was purchased by Charles Bigger from William Chisholm in 1839. Potter was responsible for building the Congregationalist Church in 1842 which stood at the corner of Wilson and John Streets across the creek. Potter was a temperance man and was instrumental in building the Temperance Hall. He was also a member of the Mechanics Institute and was on the first town council in 1857.

Potter built several schooners at his yard on Sixteen Mile Creek, including the "Smith and Post," was built for Thompson Smith , the 100-ton schooner "Kate," built for George Chisholm and the 175-ton "Dauntless," built for Captain Hiram Williams. However, he got into financial difficulties and sold the house in 1859. It was sold again in 1861 and 1869. 19 days later the original house burned to the ground.

Construction on this house started soon after and by 1874 it was rented to the Presbyterians for use as a manse. The Potters never lived in the house- he lived with is daughter Jerusha and her husband Dr. Lusk at 205 Trafalgar Road - but it has always been known as Potter's Folly. Potter died in 1908 in his 98th year.

The Presbyterian Congregation bought the house in 1881 and used it as a manse until 1927 when it was sold. The last Presbyterian minister to live in it was Dr. Munro whose grandson owned Munro's Books in Victoria. The grandson's ex-wife is author Alice Munro.

Two of the Munro children, Arthur and Hugh, served in the First World War. The Oakville Society has a collection of over 200 letters written by the boys home to their family and from their mother to them. These letters can be viewed and read on line at

The Presbyterian Church sold the home in 1927 to William Robert Adamson and his wife Ethel. William was very involved in Knox Presbyterian Church but died two years after moving to Oakville. In 1939 Ethel became the first woman elected to the Board of Knox Church and she served on the board for eight years. There is a stained glass window in their honour in the church.

It is the only Italianate Villa in Oakville. The balconies on the tower have been removed and then replaced and the arcade verandah with fine treillage (latticework) has been replaced by a closed-in porch. Originally there was also a porch on the south side. The windows maintain their original massive dressings, pediments and cornices held in place by oversized brackets. The roof has an extensive overhang with large brackets.

In 1978 the previous owner had it moved 65 feet forward on to the front two of its four original lots.
Click to Enlarge
241 Trafalgar Road - Potter's Folly241 Trafalgar Road - Potter's Folly
241 Trafalgar Road plaque241 Trafalgar Road plaque
241 Trafalgar Road in it's original location241 Trafalgar Road in it's original location
241 Trafalgar Road - 1965 Note the upper balcony241 Trafalgar Road - 1965 Note the upper balcony
Potter's Folly 1958Potter's Folly 1958
Potter's Folly circa 1915Potter's Folly circa 1915
Johm Potter.  Photo courtesy of St John's United ChurchJohm Potter. Photo courtesy of St John's United Church
John Potter's signed the Constitution of the Oakville Temperance SocietyJohn Potter's signed the Constitution of the Oakville Temperance Society
Dr. MunroDr. Munro
The Munro children - Edward, Arthur Melville, Hugh and EthelThe Munro children - Edward, Arthur Melville, Hugh and Ethel