History of City Hall

Pembroke City Hall
Pembroke City Hall

Before 1836, this outstanding City property on which City Hall stands was Crown land. During 1836, Phoebe Rockwood acquired 200 acres of this land, which was located on the north side of Pembroke Street and bordered the Muskrat River. In 1838, Phoebe and Elizah Rockwood sold this parcel of 200 acres to John McDonald. Samuel and James McKay acquired the property from John McDonald in 1840.

Four years later in 1844, after a number of transactions, Mr. John Supple became the sole owner. At his death in 1869, Mr. Supple's estate passed to his wife Esther Supple.

In those early years in the Village of Pembroke this area was known as "The Supple Section". The present Mackay Street was then called Supple Lane which eventually led to the Old Supple Farm.

According to the Registered Block A Plan of this Supple Section, numerous transactions took place in the mid-1800s until Mr. John W. Munro was contracted to build the Pembroke Post Office. Thomas Fuller, the designer of the library of parliament and the original centre block, was contracted as the architect.

This beautiful and imposing three storey building, where the Muskrat River flows under the Pembroke Street bridge to join the Ottawa River, was constructed in 1889. This date can readily be seen and is inscribed in the front of the building above the third floor windows.

The cornerstone of this building was laid by Sir Hector Langevin, then Minister of Public Works in the spring of 1888 and the building was occupied in January 1891. When completed, the Pembroke Post Office was considered to be one of the finest to be found in any town in Canada. In 1912, an addition was built to the back of the building which cost about $16 000 with additional alterations made in 1914 and 1941. W.J. Moore was Clerk of the Works for the addition in 1912 and J.L. Morris for the alterations in 1914.

On the second floor were the offices of the Collector of Customs and the Collector of Inland Revenue. Over the years, the bright third floor apartment was the residence for the caretaker.

In 1958, the building was completely renovated, converted to City Hall, and now houses the Municipal Offices and the Council Chambers of the City of Pembroke.

Transaction Dates
1836 — Crown land to Phoebe Rockwood
1838 — Phoebe and Elizah Rockwood to John McDonald
1840 — John McDonald and Wife to Samuel and James McKay
1844 — John Egan and Wife to John Supple
1869 — John Supple Estate to Esther Supple
1889 — Pembroke Post Office
1958 — Pembroke City Hall

Compiled by:
Eileen Sexsmith
Chairperson of Research Committee
Ottawa Valley Historical Society
Pembroke, ON