Historical Plaque Properties


Elias Heimrich - Heimrich Fancy & Imported Goods
319 Ontario Street
Stratford, ON

Mrs. Kelly owned both lot 1 & lot 118 on Front Street, almost the entire block between Albert and Ontario Street, in 1870.  She lived on lot 118 and sold the north part of lot 1 to Peter Meagan in 1872. The address is listed as 121 Front Street in the assessment records. Peter, contractor/carpenter built a small structure on the property valued at $400.  The lot was sold to James Corcoran in 1877, who rented the house to several tenants until he sold it to Patrick R. Hoy in 1888.


George Litt was the next owner.  He purchased the property in 1909. The assessment records show the property was divided into two lots.  He owned it for only a year and sold the north part of the lot it to Alice A. and William C Hurlburt. At this time, a house was built on the south part of lot 1, which became 121 Front Street. The Hurlburt’s property became 319 Front Street. 


By 1918 the property was sold to well known local builder Alfred Jones. The value of the property increased, this could have been the time when the existing two-and-a-half-storey, 20th century Craftsman design house was built. The first storey is composed of black and brown bricks applied in a running bond pattern while the upper storey and a half are composed of stucco and faux timbering.  The upper level contains both shed and gable dormers. Elias Heimrich became the owner around 1919.


Elias (Eli) Claus Heimrich was born in Berlin (Kitchener), Ontario on June 14, 1867 to Stephen (1826-1905) and Ida Wolf (1826-1891). He married Alice Rosenberger on May 5, 1891 in Berlin. Alice was born in Preston (Cambridge), Ontario on August 27, 1865 to father, Joseph (1825-1893), and mother, Hannah Sherk (1828-1900). Alice was raised Mennonite but joined the Lutheran church when she married Eli. They had six sons, all born in Berlin, Carl John  born on February 19, 1892, Gordon William born on November 7, 1893-died September 24, 1896, Harold Walter Wellington, born on July 24, 1895-died July 24, 1895,  Frederick Joseph born on June 17, 1896,  Edward William born on November 24, 1898, and Paul born on March 25, 1901. They had two daughters, Mary Agnes, born May 30, 1903, and Myrtle Amelia, born on October 26, 1905, both were born in Stratford.


When they first moved to Stratford, they lived at 217 Coburg Street and Eli worked as a finisher at McLagan Furniture. In the 1922 City Directory, the family was listed as living at 319 Ontario Street and Eli as a grocer, at the same location. Eli died on July 1, 1934 of appendicitis and is buried in Mount Hope Cemetery in Kitchener.  

Mary Agnes continued to operate the small neighbourhood grocery store, offering delivery in the 40’s. It was locally known as simply “Mary’s.”  In 1947, Mary married John Raymond Ward who joined in the family business. John Ward was born on October 2, 1917 to parents John David (1895-1978) and Norma Louisa Jane Pritchard (1893-1971) in Harriston, Ontario. 


In the City Directory of 1951, the name of the store changed to “Heimrich’s Fancy & Imported Foods”. The store expanded by adding a gift store. It sold a variety of items from fine Rosemthal china to chocolate covered grasshoppers and ants. 


Alice Rosenberger Heimrich died on January 23, 1970 at the age of 104 and is buried with her husband Eli and two of their sons, Harold and Gordon in Kitchener. 

Heimrich Fancy & Imported Goods continued as a family run business until 1988 when John died on August 23. He is buried in Avondale Cemetery in Stratford. Mary lived to be 94 years of age, dying in January 1997. She is buried beside John.