Fort Malden Guild of Arts & Crafts
The Gibson Gallery is housed in Amherstburg’s historic (1896) railroad station. The Fort Malden Guild of Arts and Crafts (the Gallery Board), in partnership with the Ontario Trillium Foundation, have used funds earned at Art by the River to restore and maintain this beautiful Romanesque style building.
The Guild promotes appreciation of the arts and crafts in Amherstburg. The Gallery season features exhibits by local artists, photographers, stitchers as well as travelling exhibits and annual student exhibits. Holiday Art at the Gallery is our final event of the season.
Art and craft classes for adults and children are taught throughout the year and the Gallery is home to needlework, stitchery, quilting and artist guilds.
The Gallery, a registered charitable non-profit organization, is open to the public free of charge and is entirely operated and maintained by the volunteer Board and Gallery members.
The Gibson Gallery is located in the heart of downtown historic Amherstburg. Close to all amenities and other attractions, we are located a half a block east of Sandwich Street on Richmond street.
Look for our "OPEN" flag by the road and stop in to see us!
The Michigan Central Railroad Station
The inscription on the outside of the former Michigan Railroad Station reads 1892. Research indicates that construction began in the fall of 1895. The first train left the Amherstburg station in January, 1896 and the official opening took place in March, 1896.
The charter of the Canada Southern Railroad was granted in 1832. It eventually extended from Niagara to Detroit. The first train into Anderdon's Gordon Station (near Brunner-Mond Bridge) arrived from St. Thomas in November 1872. From the Gordon Station, the train then crossed the lower Detroit River by a combination of ferry and bridges to Slocum Junction (near Trenton, Michigan) and then on to Detroit. By 1873, the Canadian Southern Railroad, by linking up with the Michigan Central, provided through service to Chicago. A more direct route was desired and in 1883 a cut-off was constructed from Essex to Windsor. Trains then crossed by ferry to Detroit. In 1883, the Gordon Station was destroyed by fire. A new frame station was built and it too was destroyed by fire in 1892. After this, Amherstburg residents sought to erect a new station nearer the centre of town. In 1894, a connecting line was granted to the Michigan Central Railroad and the railroad line was extended into Amherstburg from the Gordon Station.
Work on the new railroad station and a freight warehouse began in the fall of 1895. By the end of November the outside structure was complete. Offices were moved from the Gordon Station in January 1896. The freight shed housed the offices of the Amherstburg station until the new facility was completed and furnished in March of 1896.
The station is a one-storey red-brick building approximately 72 feet long and 27 feet at its widest point. Romanesque in style, it features beveled glass panes and fan-lights above the windows. Its window sills are of dressed stone and decorative trim is featured.
The station has three main divisions: men's waiting room/ticket office, baggage room, and ladies waiting room. The railroad management of the time was giving attention to architectural detail and had appointed qualified architects to its staff. Prior to this, stations, unless in a city, were plain affairs. They were often built of vertical siding, as was the Gordon Station.
The station remained a busy place for many years until the advent of the electric railway into Amherstburg. Roads and the automobile eventually caused the demise of the railroad. Through changes in ownership, the Canada Southern Railroad has operated under a number of names: Michigan Central, New York Central, Pennsylvannia Central, Canadian National.
In 1969, the building was purchased by Florence Gibson and donated to the Fort Malden Guild of Arts and Crafts, who continue to own and operate the building as an art gallery and crafts centre.
Below: Past and present photos of the building including our Essex Terminal Railway Caboose which has been completely restored, and now serves as a railway museum that reflects the railroad past of our area.
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Welcome to the Gibson Gallery / Fort Malden Guild of Arts & Crafts
The Gibson Gallery is located in South Western Ontario's historic town of Amherstburg.
This former Michigan Central Railroad Station, ca. 1896, has been renovated to its original Romanesque glory featuring towering ceilings, hardwood floors and bevelled glass windows. A full season of exhibits showcasing Essex County artists, travelling exhibits from Ontario museums and galleries and an Artisan Shoppe make this heritage building a vital center for the
visual arts, offering art and craft lessons, an artist guild and three needle art guilds. A railroad museum, featuring artifacts and memorabilia, is housed in the attached caboose.
The Gallery is owned and operated by the Fort Malden Guild of Arts and Crafts,a charitable organization incorporated in 1975 "to encourage and foster cultural development in the fields of fine arts and applied arts".
Admission to the Gallery is free-donations help support this heritage site.