Milner Heritage House
Milner Heritage House is open for the season from Victoria Day to Labour Day each year. Located at 59 William Street North, in Chatham (across from Tecumseh Park), the restored home is open daily from 1:00-5:00 PM. Please watch for special opening times and events under our Program and Events tab.
It was here, in Chatham, that Robert Milner started a modest buggy and sleigh manufacturing business. In 1874, at the age of 19, Emma Wicks married Robert. Emma became a prominent artist even though she didn't have any formal training. She specialized in "crayon" portraits (pencil stippling) for which she won many awards
By the 1890s, the Milner Carriage Works had grown to become one of the largest vehicle producers in southern Ontario and Robert had established himself as one of Chatham’s “Captains of Industry.” Robert and his wife, Emma, built this Queen Anne style residence on the corner of William and Murray Streets in 1894. Together, they had seven children.
In 1943, following Emma’s death in 1936, and Robert’s in 1941, their children donated the house to the City of Chatham. For over 45 years, the residence served as the Chatham-Kent Museum. Today, the restored Milner Heritage House depicts the turn-of-the-century lifestyle of a successful industrialist and his family. Costumed interpreters take visitors back in time to 1905 when stereoscopes, gramophones, and magic lanterns were a family’s means of entertainment and a “modern” kitchen consisted of a wood stove, ice box, and a new, all-purpose “Chatham” cupboard.
The home also features a stunning collection of art by Emma Milner. Her greatest pieces were the incredibly detailed pencil portraits that she created of her family, friends, and famous personalities of the day.