Historic Rodman Hall & The Walker Botanical Garden

Historic Rodman Hall

Rodman Hall was built by Thomas Rodman Merritt who was born in Mayville, New York in 1824 and died in St. Catharines in 1906. He was the fourth son of the Honourable William Hamilton Merritt (1793-1862) who built the first Welland Canal. He was the grandson of Thomas Merritt, a United Empire Loyalist, who fled from the United States in 1796, settled in the Niagara district, and bought land on the east bank of Twelve Mile Creek slightly south of the Queen Elizabeth Way.

Walker Botanical Garden

In 1856 Thomas Rodman Merritt, the son of the famous canal builder William Hamilton Merritt built a stone house on twenty acres of picturesque land on the edge of downtown St. Catharines. In 1863 the house underwent renovations and a major addition was added. It came to be known as Rodman Hall.

To develop the landscape surrounding the manor, Merritt hired an English gardener by the name of Samuel Richardson. Richardson developed a wonderful garden featuring well kept lawns, exotic trees, fountains, borders and a terraced garden on the hillside leading down to the Twelve Mile Creek. He also built a display green house, an extensive kitchen garden and orchard. The Merritts and Richardson were able to see the garden mature into magnificence over a period of five decades.