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Heritage House Museum, Smiths Falls

History Museum · Hidden Gem · Museum
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In the early 1850's the lure of plenty of water power and the promise of railway development attracted Joshua Bates, founder of nearby Farmersville (now Athens), to a site beside the roaring waters of Old Sly's Rapids on the Rideau Canal. Bates built two mills on property leased from the Crown and promoted the development of the Brockville and Ottawa Railway Company. After suffering considerable losses in his milling operations and investing heavily in the now bankrupt railway company, he began construction of his large frame house in 1861.

Despite his optimism for the future, fate did not allow Joshua Bates to recoup his fortune or to enjoy his new home. He died in debt on January 1st, 1864. Ironically, his home and mills were acquired by his competitor Truman R. Ward, eldest son of Abel Russell Ward, a founding father of Smiths Falls.

After many years of neglect, the Corporation of the Town of Smiths Falls purchased the once dignified country estate from the Gleeson family in 1977 for use as a museum.

Today the lifestyles of Joshua and Tamson Bates and Truman and Anabella Ward are depicted in the classically styled home where both families once lived. Heritage House Museum functions as a historic house depicting upper middle class life circa 1865-1875 and as a local museum featuring a permanent collection of Smiths Falls artifacts, traveling exhibits and art shows.

Summer Hours:

Wednesday, Friday, Sunday - 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Thursday & Saturday - 12:00 pm - 8:00 pm
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Heritage House Museum reviews

TripAdvisor traveler rating
TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.0
21 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • 2nd time fir a visit but a first time doing the guided outdoor tour. It was great! Such a knowledgeable guide! Good job Aiden! Great staff welcoming us! Gorgeous gardens! Go on a nice day. Last about....  more
    2nd time fir a visit but a first time doing the guided outdoor tour. It was great! Such a knowledgeable guide! Good job Aiden! Great staff welcoming us! Gorgeous gardens! Go on a nice day. Last about....  more »
  • We were time pressed (only 30 minutes) and wish we had a bit more time. It was very good. As advertised, we got to see the two-tiered privy. I loved that the community donated all of the old... 
    We were time pressed (only 30 minutes) and wish we had a bit more time. It was very good. As advertised, we got to see the two-tiered privy. I loved that the community donated all of the old...  more »
  • In the early 1850’s the lure of plenty of water power and the promise of railway development attracted Joshua Bates, founder of nearby Farmersville (now Athens), to a site beside the roaring waters... 
    In the early 1850’s the lure of plenty of water power and the promise of railway development attracted Joshua Bates, founder of nearby Farmersville (now Athens), to a site beside the roaring waters...  more »
Google
  • I and my husband we both enjoyed the heritage house museum walk. It was 40mins drive for us from Ottawa. They have entry fees cad 5 dollars. But that's perfectly worthy.
  • Amazing place, staff, and visit. One of the most beautiful places I have ever visited. Small museum but fantastic. House was build 1860, authentic and classy. I loved it. The staff are super nice, informative, and helpful. They even have a game for kids to find some house items and win a prize. Kids had fun, know new information, and we had chance to move to see the the museum. We bought some house made jam and soap from their gift shop. Highly recommended. We drove one hour from Ottawa, no regret. Do not forget to visit the railway museum their, Too close do not waste the chance. We were 8 people, paid only 27$. تجربه رائعه في هذا البيت القديم. لعشاق الرقي والذوق القديم التقليدي .. ارجح زيارته بشده وسعره رائع. وما تنسوا تزوروا متحف القطارات هترجعوا للأفلام القديمه بس الفرق ان كل شي حقيقي
  • Finally, after being delayed by Covid-19 from visiting for 2 years, we got to see Heritage House. It was well-worth the visit. We had an excellent and fun tour with Aidan. This is an great historical site and shouldn't be missed. Fantastic staff. (Ask about the ghosts.)
  • The Heritage Haunted House and Walk was fantastic. Great actors, well run and great fun.
  • The history behind this house is amazing . I would love to go back and do a ghost investigation

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