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Nelles Manor is considered to be the oldest inhabited dwelling between Niagara and Kingston. It was built in the Georgian style by Colonel Robert Nelles, of locally quarried stone, over a ten year period (1788-98). Built facing north and Lake Ontario on an old path called Squire Nelles' Lane, the main entrance was later moved to the south on the other side, with a pillared porch facing on to the new Stone Road (now Main Street).
A Loyalist from the Mohawk Valley, New York, Robert Nelles and his father and brothers were among the first to settle at The Forty (Grimsby) following the American Revolution. This home served as Nelles' residence during his lengthy career as Justice of the Peace, Member of the Legislative Assembly and Commander of the 14th Lincoln Militia.
Colonel Nelles' office was a small room on the north side, where he performed many marriages before clergy were available. The house was a center for gala events and remained in the Nelles family possession until 1963, when it was purchased by its current owners. Restoration is an on-going project in this warm welcoming home, with its seven fireplaces, walnut woodwork and spacious halls and rooms.
The property is designated by the Town and the Province as having architectural and/or historical significance.
"The Nelles Manor is a fine ex-ample of the Georgian style. The original two-and-a-half storey house was built with three foot thick sandstone walls and finished with mortar rendering. The foundation is of coursed rubble which was also originally covered by plaster. Two uncoursed fieldstone end chimneys cap the asphalt shingled gable roof, with box cornices and friezes trimmed with decorative mouldings.
There were two subsequent additions to "The Manor", both of different architectural styles. The west wing of the building was built of sandstone at the same time as the main dwelling, but the south side, which was probably originally a porch, was enclosed with bevel siding at a later date. This wing was originally a kitchen and displays a chimney of the same design as the main house.
The north elevation facing Lake Ontario was the original front to the house. The rear elevation was transformed to be the front entrance to the highway by the addition of a porch c. 1820 more or less central to the facade.
The broken triangular pediment of the porch is supported by four fluted columns with Roman Doric style capitals and bases and a stone floor. The four pilasters to the rear of the porch are also fluted. The main door is a plain design with one large glass pane.
The doorway displays a simple trim with a four-pane, rectangular transom. The windows are all double-hung sash, nine over nine with louvered shutters, except for the three gable dormer windows which are eight over eight and have no shutters.
The gabled dormers are finished with bevel siding. The east and west elevations, mostly concealed by additions, reveal only two double-hung sash, second floor windows per side and air vents where the gable ends meet the chimneys.The north elevation, originally the front of the house, still reveals some of the characteristic features of a Georgian House, such as a balanced five bay facade. The double-leaf rear doors each of moulded and field type are housed in a moulded architrave with a five-pane full width transom above.
The original porch has been replaced by a staircase used for exclusive entry into the upper apartments. The rear of the gabled roof displays a gabled dormer protruding to the stair-case from the centre of a shed dormer."
Alexander Temporale and Associates Inc. Architectural Significance. Pages 6.5 and 6.6 in Grimsby Character Study.
Alexander Temporale and Associates Inc. Undated. Grimsby Character Study.
Grimsby Heritage Advisory Committee (GHAC). The Nelles Heritage Driving Tour. Brochure available online, or at the Grimsby Historical Society.