Historic Plaques Installed On Sandwich Town Arch

Thursday March 18th, 2021

Posted at 9:00am


The City of Windsor installed the new plaques on the sides of the Sandwich Street arch this week.

Of the 14 plaques, one is dedicated to telling the story of the Tecumseh and Brock monument located in the roundabout, and a second one will be dedicated to the archaeological investigations carried out at the Sandwich roundabout.

In 2018, the community determined the stories submitted for consideration. The campaign ran for one month, and 25 unique stories where submitted.

The through a process of online voting determined the final 12 stories that are permanently told on the arch.

Those 12 stories are:

Henry & Mary Bibb – Henry (born enslaved in Kentucky) and Mary (born free in Rhode Island) came to Sandwich in 1850, where they founded a school for Black children, and also started a newspaper, The Voice of the Fugitive, the first anti-slavery paper published in Canada by people of African descent.

Quarrlls & Watkins
– Caroline Quarells (b. enslaved in Missouri, 1826) escaped via the Underground Railroad to freedom in Sandwich where she married Allen Watkins (also formerly enslaved), and their descendants are prominent in the community to this day (including street named after family).

Sandwich First Baptist Church – Sandwich First Baptist Church (completed on August 1, 1851 – present), served as a “safe house” for those escaping slavery in the United States, and it continues to provide for the community today.

MacKenzie Hall – Sandwich, serving as the seat of government for the Western District, had several government buildings, the final one
being the current Mackenzie Hall (built 1855 by Alexander Mackenzie) for the purpose of a County Courthouse, with adjoining gaol, county treasury, registry office and headquarters of Essex County, and for municipal and justice administration.

St. Johns Anglican Church – The original St. John’s Anglican Church building, founded in 1796, was burned by the Americans during the War of 1812, and the rebuilt church is surrounded on two sides by a historic and significant cemetery.

Duff Baby Mansion – The Duff-Bâby Mansion, built 1798 as a fur trade post by Alexander Duff, and later sold to the Honourable James
(Jacques) Baby, a prominent Upper Canadian politician, military officer, is the oldest house in the region.

McGregor-Cowan House – The McGregor-Cowan House, built between 1806 – 1808 by James McGregor (son of Gregor McGregor) as a fur trading post, was later the home of the first regular newspaper for the Western District, “The Canadian Emigrant” published by John Cowan.

Dominion House Tavern – The Dominion House is the oldest remaining, continuously operating tavern in Essex County, having been started in 1859 in a building across the street from the current location which has served as the tavern’s location since an 1883 fire burnt the original.

Mineral Springs – The Sandwich Canal, also known as the Mineral Springs Canal, located where Sandwich and John Streets meet, was
a popular tourist attraction in the 1870’s & 1880’s because of the reputed healing properties of the mineral content in the springs.

Detroit River – The Detroit River, a Canadian and American Heritage River and part of the St. Lawrence Seaway, is one of the busiest waterways in the world, and a focus of ecological revitalization projects including spawning reefs and fish habitat along the Sandwich shoreline.

McKee Treaty/Huron Reserve – In 1797, the Huron Church Reserve was surveyed as a triangular reserve of 1078 acres to be granted to settlers of Sandwich, in a treaty signed by the Three Fires and the Hurons, (the original reserve, part of the McKee Treaty in 1790, was rectangular).

Origins of the Sandwich Town Name – At the founding of the village of Sandwich, 1797, it was the seat of government for the Western District (which in 1800 was divided into 6 townships -Rochester, Mersea, Gosfield, Maidstone, Sandwich & Malden) and all of these placenames have origins in the southern region of England.

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