Welcome to Cottonwood Mansion

Cottonwood is an Italianate-style red brick mansion built c. 1865-70 by William Holmes Jr., as a private residence. Descendants of the family say the name came from the cottonwood trees that originally surrounded the home on its 200 acre site. It was lived in until 1911 and then was derelict for almost eighty years until its restoration was undertaken by the late Larry Hamilton beginning in 1988.


Cottonwood is a 6,000 square foot mansion with fifteen rooms, some of which have the original furniture donated by Holmes' family members. Now a living museum, the mansion is open for tours, and available for rentals for a variety of events. A number of scheduled events take place annually, most with a Victorian flavour in keeping with the mission statement of the Cottonwood Mansion Preservation Foundation to sustain and maintain the Mansion and provide experiences of the Victorian Era.

Cottonwood's extensive genealogy research centre is now administered by the curator at Haldimand County Museum and Archives. It concentrates on the pioneer families of the Haldimand and Niagara areas.

Ontario150 Community Capital Program Grant

Cottonwood Mansion Museum was the recipient of an Ontario150 Community Capital Program Grant administered by the Ontario Trillium Foundation on behalf of the Ontario150 Secretariat. The grant was for existing properties to be repaired in a variety of ways that would make the facilities more available to the public. It seemed designed for a place like Cottonwood. The grant would make possible the repairs needed for the chimneys, the installation of a new roof, and the replacement of three pillars on the annex. Fortunately, the Mansion was chosen as a recipient. One quarter of the $66,000 estimate had to be provided by the Foundation. The actual cost came in at $6,000 less than anticipated. The trustees are happy to report that the work has been completed as the above photograph demonstrates.

Coming Up

November 25, 2017

Christmas Decorating Day

We will be decorating the Mansion for Christmas from 10:00 am - 1:00 pm. Volunteers are needed and very much appreciated. Lunch will be provided. Please contact Cindy at the Mansion, 905-776-2538 or email cottonwoodmansion@gmail.com if you are available to volunteer.

December 2, 2017

Open House and Bake Sale/Bazaar

Please join us for our open house and bake sale/bazaar on December 2nd from 11:00 am - 4:00 pm. We will have assorted items for sale and free admission for the day to the Mansion. Dave and Mary Ann Pearson, a duo from the Cottonwood Brass Quintet, will be performing at 11:00 am - 1:00 pm.

December 17, 2017

Christmas Dinner

The Mansion will be hosting Christmas dinner on December 17, 2017 at 2:00 pm. Price per adult is $25.00 and $12.50 for children twelve and under, and includes a full Christmas dinner. Reservations are required. Catering is provided by Rosie Balogh. Please RSVP by December 12, 2017 to Cindy at 905-776-2538 or email cottonwoodmansion@gmail.com.

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Home at Home: Selkirk and Haldimand County

Feature article on Selkirk and Haldimand County in a national Canadian magazine. 400,000 copies across Canada. Download the PDF.

Reprinted with permission from Home Hardware's Home at Home magazine.

Latest News

August 15, 2017

Mystery Bus Tour

Cottonwood Mansion hosted a Mystery Bus Tour from Essex, Ontario on August 15, 2017. Fifty four guests enjoyed a tour of the Mansion provided by Clayton Spears and lunch catered by Barbara Held. Special thanks to all of our volunteers for making this event a success!

Clayton Spears our volunteer tour guide and Lee Weber from Forsyth Travel in Essex.

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Toni Grandmaison a guest from the tour.

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Emily Folland (staff) and Veronica Gordyn (volunteer) greeting our guests during the tour.

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August 13, 2017

Victorian Brass Concert and Peach Social Recap

Cottonwood Mansion hosted the 12th Annual Victorian Brass Concert and Peach Social on August 13, 2017. Guests enjoyed entertainment provided by the Cottonwood Brass Quintet along with special guest Dr. Henry Meredith. A peach dessert and punch followed the entertainment.

Pictured are the Cottonwood Brass Quintet and special guest Dr. Henry Meredith during their performance.

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Dr. Henry Meredith with his c.1820 keyed bugle.

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August 2017

High Chair Donation

Bob and Shirley Otterman, life members of Cottonwood Mansion, recently donated a family heirloom high chair to the Mansion. According to Shirley the chair is approximately c1870. It had been used for three generations of their family between the late 1800's through the 1950's. Pictured delivering the high chair to the Mansion is Lynn Otterman.

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August 2017

Summer Student

Thanks to a grant through Canada Summer Jobs, Emily Folland was Cottonwood Mansion's Museum Assistant in July and August, for eight weeks of service.

Her first visit to Cottonwood was when she was two to three years old and used to spend part of her summers with relatives at the lake. Tours of the area included Cottonwood and she happily admits that was the beginnings of her interest in history.

Upon completion of her work term Emily shared these comments about her experience:

"This summer I had the pleasure of spending eight weeks as Cottonwood's Museum Assistant. This was amazing not just because I got to learn more about the local history but because I got to work at a museum I had grown up visiting in the summers. From researching the balconies and answering questions about the wallpaper and stovepipes to the Peach Social there was always something new to be thinking about. Thank you to all the visitors and volunteers who made this summer memorable and exciting."

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June 17, 2017

High Tea-Downton Abbey Style Recap

Cottonwood Mansion hosted a High Tea-Downton Abbey Style on June 17, 2017. Guests enjoyed the High Tea in the Victorian ambiance of the Mansion. Many of whom were in Victorian costume. Special thanks to organizer Lynda Davis and the staff of volunteers that made the event a success.

Organizer Lynda Davis with volunteers Debbie and Greg.

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Volunteers Bruce and Lois Gifford (Mr. & Mrs. Holmes) conversing with guests.

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Alma Nagel, a guest at the High Tea in Victorian costume.

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Volunteers Lois Gifford and Greg Hilton.

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May 6, 2017

Cottonwood Mansion Dolly Tea Party Recap

Cottonwood Mansion hosted the annual Dolly Tea Party on May 6, 2017 to a sold out crowd. The guests enjoyed tea and light lunch, crafts, and activities. Special thanks to Deanna Schaus, Maureen Edge, and their staff of volunteers that continue to make this event such a great success.

Deanna Schaus and Maureen Edge, organizers of the Dolly Tea Party, and their staff of volunteers for the event.

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Lois Gifford who also volunteered for the event enjoyed the tea along with her two granddaughters Ameyla and Claryssa.

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Guests and their dolls enjoying the Dolly Tea Party.

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March 12, 2017

St. Patrick's Day Country Dinner Recap

Cottonwood Mansion hosted our annual St. Patrick's Day Dinner on March 12, 2017. Guests enjoyed a meal catered by Rosie Balogh and entertainment provided by dancers from the McGinley Academy of Irish Dance in Georgetown.

Six young women, all of whom have qualified for the World Competition of Irish Dancing in Dublin in April, performed at the end of the dinner.

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One of the dancers was Allison Daly, rated third best Irish dancer in Canada. She is shown with her grandparents, local residents, Brendan and Philomena Daly.

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December 18, 2016

Christmas Dinner Recap

Cottonwood Mansion hosted a Christmas Dinner on December 18, 2016. Guests were served a delicious hot meal catered by Rosie Balogh with help from Barbara Held, President and many other volunteers.

Richard Hoover, Vice President (shown here) along with his wife Anne volunteered and also enjoyed the Christmas dinner.

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Milfred and Marjorie Hartwick guests at the dinner.

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Bruce and Lois Gifford along with their family and friends at the dinner.

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Craig Sitter, Karen Zandersons, and their guests at the dinner.

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December 3 & 10, 2016

Open House & Bake Sale/Bazaar Recap

Cottonwood Mansion hosted an Open House & Bake Sale Bazaar on December 3 & 10, 2016. Guests were treated to a wide array of bake sale items and many unique treasures from the bazaar. Entertainment was provided from a duo from the Cottonwood Brass Quintet, Dave and Mary Ann Pearson. Xander Geister was also on hand signing copies of the Haldimand Heritage Sites 2017 calendar which he produced.

Volunteer Lynda Davis helping at the Christmas Open House.

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Dave and Mary Ann Pearson a duo from the Cottonwood Brass Quintet entertained the guests at the Christmas Open House.

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Xander Geister who produced the Haldimand Heritage Sites 2017 calendar signing purchased copies for guests at the Christmas Open House.

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November 26 & 27, 2016

Christmas Decorating Day Recap

Cottonwood Mansion hosted a Christmas Decorating Day on November 26 & 27, 2016. The Mansion was decorated in Victorian theme for the Christmas holidays. We had many volunteers come out and participate in the event and enjoyed a wonderful lunch provided by Barbara Held, President. Thank you to all who made the day a great success.

Rosemary Hilton and Walter Plaenksken helping with the decorating at the Mansion.

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Lynn Otterman decorating the tree in the Sitter Music Room.

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Lynda Davis and our youngest helper of the day decorating the tabletop tree in the Smith Parlour.

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