By Melissa Cole, Curator
“Formerly the residence of Mr. R.S. McLaughlin and became the possession of the Foreign Mission Board in the year 1919. It was known as Llewellyn Hall and the name continued. It is a two and a half storey brick building, on one of the best residential streets in the Town. It has beautiful grounds, magnificent trees and tennis court, and is artistically finished within as well as attractive without.”
~The Second Prospectus, 1924 Llewellyn Hall
Opening in the fall of 2018 at the Oshawa Museum will be an exhibition that looks at Community Health in the 20th Century: An Oshawa Perspective. What does Llewellyn Hall have to do with community health? It was utilized for a brief time as Oshawa’s Maternity Ward.
The home was ordered to be built by James Odgers Guy who was a coal dealer in Oshawa. He resided in this home with his wife Rachel and their children. The name of the home was Llewellyn Hall, in memory of a son named Llewellyn Harold who had passed away. They lived in the home until 1897.
Robert Samuel McLaughlin of Tyrone purchased the home from the Guys. Robert lived in the home with his wife Adelaide and all five daughters, Eileen, Mildred, Isobel, Hilda and Eleanor were born there. This was the McLaughlin Family home until 1917, when they moved into Parkwood Estate.
Robert and Adelaide McLaughlin, under the names of the McLaughlin Carriage Company, the McLaughlin Motor Car Company and Chevrolet Motor Car Company of Canada, gifted their home to the Oshawa General Hospital, for $1, to be used as a maternity hospital.
Adelaide McLaughlin, who was president of the Hospital Auxiliary, stated at the formal opening of the maternity hospital that she hoped “all future mothers in this house may be as happy as I was when here”. Inspector of Hospitals, Dr. Helen McMurchie of the Ministry of Health for the Province of Ontario stated that “every hospital must have a satisfactory maternity wing and Oshawa has successfully followed this direction”.
The first baby girl was born the day it formally opened on Wednesday July 12 at 1917, delivered to a Mrs. F. Patfield by Dr. F.J Rundle. In 1918, the Spanish Flu swept through the Maternity Ward. It was reported that ninety-five percent of the babies in the Ward passed away.
One of the last babies to be born at the Maternity Ward was in 1919 before it was sold to the Presbyterian Church in Canada to be a home for children in missionary families of the United Church of Canada. For the next twenty-nine years, Adelaide McLaughlin offered her support through various means, financially, socially and advisory to the residents, Matrons and staff.
The final years of Lewellyn Hall were spent as the location of education and worship, after being purchased in 1948, by the Oshawa Hebrew Congregation, known as the Beth Zion Synagogue. By 1952 the number Jewish families in Oshawa outgrew the space and the building was torn down to build a new synagogue, which still stands today.
This house nurtured many lives that crossed it’s threshold. Built for the Guy Family and for fifteen years it was home to Colonel Sam and Adelaide McLaughlin and their five daughters and it was a home for Protestant missionary children and before its end was the core for education and worship.