Legacy of London advocate restores Woodstock's former jail
WOODSTOCK, ONT. -- The County of Oxford is restoring heritage lost in Woodstock.
The city’s former jail, which now houses the public health unit, is getting a historical facelift.
The jail was built in 1854 and sits on a prominent side of Woodstock’s Victoria Park.
The project will recreate turrets and chimneys removed during a renovation in 1954.
But the county isn't footing the bill.
Instead, a late Oxford County resident, noted educator and early advocate for the LGBTQ2 community in London is credited.
Bruce Flowers was a high school teacher and sculptor, who was recognized for championing gay rights in the Forest City, while teaching.
He also passionately adored the architecture of his hometown.
More than 10 years prior to his death, he informed Oxford County council of his intent to leave an endowment of $250,000 to restore the turrets and chimney on the front facade of the former jail.
Flowers passed away in 2018.
At that same time Oxford County was looking to improve the general masonry of the jail building.
With Flowers' gift the timing was right for both projects to proceed according to Mike Amy, the supervisor of facilities for Oxford County.
“Without that gift this is not something we would likely have the funds to do.”
Commenced in Sept. of 2019, the project hit an expected snag early on.
The problem forced the masons to make bricks to match the historic building from scratch.
“The level of craftsmanship is extraordinary. Once the scaffolding comes down, everyone will get to see, but it looks really good,” Amy tells CTV News.
The scaffolding is expected to entirely come down by early February.