John R. Park Homestead
A visit to the John R. Park Homestead Conservation Area will take you back in time to the 1850s. The house and farm buildings of John and Amelia Park are restored to bring the nineteenth century to life. Explore the Parks’ magnificent Classical Revival home, built in 1842, taste baking from the kitchen fireplace or play with a wooden toy in the children’s bedrooms. See the workings of an 1885 steam engine-powered sawmill and stop by the blacksmith shop to witness the making of small hardware and repairing of farm tools at the coal-fired forge. Don’t miss the working smoke house, ice house and barn. For a breath of fresh air, take a scenic walk on the lakeshore boardwalk. Be sure to check out the gift shop and exhibit area. You can also take in the theatre where an audio-visual presentation will transport you back in time to John Park’s day. And there’s more! Each spring we plant the garden with heirloom crops, flowers and vegetables. In the summer, livestock are a popular addition.
Thousands of school children attend field trips here each year for hands-on learning opportunities about pioneer life and the importance of preserving our heritage. Many special events are held each year, so be sure to check out the events calendar to learn more. The new Heritage & Conservation Centre provides enhanced exhibit opportunities, features the Town of Essex Tourism Hub, and includes a gift shop with unique items crafted by local artisans. The Homestead is also available to rent for meetings, special events, weddings and showers.
The John R. Park Homestead is open Tuesday – Friday 11am – 7pm, and Saturday/Sunday 11am – 6pm. Group bookings available anytime by advance appointment. Please note that all photo sessions at the John R. Park Homestead Conservation Area require a permit. The site is very popular and often is privately rented, or in use during evenings and weekends. Visit our rent-a-facility page to learn more and download a permit application.