, , ,

438 malabar drive 2438 Malabar DrivePublished in our local newspaper, a provincial masonary group has named five buildings in our region as the finest and sturdiest examples of brick, block and stone.

One of these five buildings is the a Waterloo house at 438 Malabar Drive. Known as the Wissler-Cascaden House, it is a red brick home built in the Mennonite Georgian style. The Wissler-Cascaden house, a two-storey red brick Georgian home was built in 1842 by John Wissler, a Waterloo Township pioneer who arrived from Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, in 1834. One year after his arrival Wissler established the Eagle Tannery. A shoemaking, harness making and mercantile business soon sprang up in conjunction with the tannery. This industry, including the workers homes on nearby Bridge Street, formed the nucleus of the settlement of Lexington.

Wissler spared no expense in the construction of his home, elaborate window and door surrounds were included along with a plaster cornice in the drawing room. The most striking feature of the interior, however, is the two-storey front entrance hall which rises a full twenty feet to a magnificent plaster medallion on the ceiling. Access is gained through two arches which rest on moulded plaster shells and frame a cherry stairway which climbs to the attic level.

A number of additions have been made to the home. The first, a two-storey addition to the west side was completed around 1858. The second, which contained a bake oven, schnitz oven, ash oven and smoke house, was added behind the first between 1859 and 1875. The last addition, this time on the south side, provided a one and a half storey salt box kitchen which was designated to serve as the doddy wing at the turn of the century.

The property was sold to Samuel Weber in 1873. It remained in the Weber and Shantz families for over one hundred years until the late 1970s when it was converted into apartments and fell into disrepair. The present owners, Ron and Wendy Cascaden, have made a commitment to restoring the house.

All of the exterior elevations of the Wissler-Cascaden House and the front hill are deemed to be of both architectural and historical significance.