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Children of Jacob Synagogue/Sherrif Waddell House

Chatham  Ontario

  Children of Jacob
History:     Earlier this year, Rosebank was added to the Chatham-Kent Registry as a listed property. Heritage Chatham-Kent has identified the property as one of its top priorities for 2010. Descendants of the Waddell family, former members of Chatham’s Jewish community, and heritage activists are connecting to try and develop a plan of action to preserve this fine home. The obstacles, however, are daunting, and as the riverbank continues to erode from the Thames’ spring floodwaters, the property has been nominated for inclusion on the Heritage Canada Foundation’s Top Ten Endangered Places List.
The Waddell family owned Rosebank for fifty years and after several other owners, the house was purchased, in the 1940s, by the Children of Jacob, thus starting a second historically significant role for the building as a synagogue. This association is an important reminder of the significant role that Jewish families played in the development of Ontario’s rural communities and small cities in the 20th century. Throughout the 1980s and 90s, Chatham’s Jewish community experienced a sharp decline. Today, only a few families remain and the synagogue is used once or twice a year.

Although the original veranda is long gone, the fine stonework, handsome chimneys, six over six windows, interior panelled shutters, and even the very rare wooden box eaves trough are still in tact.
Details:     The old roof has failed and holes now let in the elements and the vermin. The picturesque Thames River has eroded the riverbank to within a few meters of Rosebank’s foundation, creating an imminent structural danger for this architectural gem. It is a property of serious concern to local preservationists.