Warden House History by Mark Koning
Warden House History
One of the things I like most about ‘folklore’ is that its definition is vast; meaning that a lot of different subjects can all fall under the category. One of these many topics that branch out from underneath this umbrella is history, (which I enjoy) and thus I refer to the Warden House. It is located in York Region’s Markham Ontario just off of Warden Avenue. This heritage farmhouse, a Gothic revival building, was constructed around the year 1860 and was the home of William and Susan Stiver.
Another aspect that falls under the ‘folklore’ realm is culture. This place, since the departure of the Stiver’s, has been a community facility making its contribution toward society. It most recently played a part in the public eye during Doors Open, a tour of sorts that runs throughout Ontario from May to October, inviting communities to open the door to some very intriguing and charming heritage sites.
The Warden House is also a popular venue for attending musicals, other performances and a variety of special events; including weddings and nuptial milestones. It is a tradition started long ago by the Stiver’s who held their fiftieth wedding anniversary on these well manicured grounds. Their event saw two hundred invited friends, relatives and descendants from far and near, join the celebration and partake in the couple’s hospitality. Amongst the many beautiful things that stood out that day was a sign over the archway at the gate that read the word “Welcome”, and on the reverse side of the arch, “God be With You Till We Meet Again”.
I discovered Warden House when I was invited to attend a social gathering that met for dinner and some discussions. I, along with almost everyone else there, was taken by the beautiful space, the style of home, and the charming layout of the interior. The farthest wall in the main living space was done in red brick which surrounded a cozy looking little fireplace. The ceiling showcased gorgeous wooden beams running across its width. The room opened up in one area to reveal part of the second floor and a balcony where I envisioned speeches from kings and queens being given; the room was not really big enough for a grand address of this nature, but the effect of it was felt.
It was a very pleasant night in this historical home that I could only imagine was enjoyed by others. Aside from the company I kept that evening, I felt as though I were part of something else, something traditional and valuable. Like an important document or artifact, this place had been passed on through time. With all of today’s changes and uprising development of buildings, condominiums and houses, it is nice to see and know some customs, including homes, of a long ago past way of life, are still with us. That archway sign from years earlier seemed to foreshadow a message that would carry on and be felt by many.