Within this Mennonite hearth, we can read an environmental history. By 1850, when John E. and Magdalena Brubacher built this house, the forest stands of southwestern Ontario were well on their way to being transformed into farmland. The harvesting and sale of wood and its products was the engine of the economy. Settlers, used to centuries of wood scarcity in Europe, built bigger hearths and enormous barns. Where you live, how do pioneer homes reflect their environment? How might a museum visitor of the future view one of our present-day “hearths”?
For more historical photos in the Mennonite Archival Image Database, see archives.mhsc.ca.