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Henry R. Wales Dwelling and Carriage Works

Henry R. Wales Dwelling and Carriage Works

Henry R. Wales was English by birth but moved to Canada with his family when he was nine years old. He moved to Markham in 1846 to work in a foundry but soon opened his own carriage manufacturing business that was located in front of the fine house, ‘Maple Villa,” named because of the maple trees that still cover the landscaped lawn and line the drive. His brothers, Josiah and George, worked with him.

The business grew rapidly and Henry Wales saw the benefits. He was able to retire 20 years before his eventual death on December 13, 1905, at the age of 83. During his life, Wales was very involved with public life although he never sought office; in fact, he turned down many offers to run.

Henry Wales HouseIn the early 20th century, the Wales Carriage Shop was taken over by Levi Webber, Henry’s son-in-law. Webber concentrated on the repair of carriages and wagons rather than their manufacture. He also specialized in the repair of bicycles and, after 1915, the repair of automobiles. He suffered a stroke in 1923 and another enterprising business came to an end with the buildings being torn down. However, Maple Villa remains. Because it has a deep setback from Main Street North, it was obscured for many years by buildings along the street. After leaving the hands of the Wales family, the house was owned by Arthur White, “Derby” Riev, Gordon Gower, and Mrs. L.E. Wratten who restored the house after purchasing it in 1964.