Expanding Our Stories

While Schneider Haus National Historic Site has previously focused on one year of the history of the site we are currently working on a long process of researching and working with community members to expand the narrative and accurately reflect the history of our site and its many untold stories. We welcome feedback from community members. If you have anything to share please contact us at schneiderhaus@regionofwaterloo.ca

Schneider Haus History

Built in 1816, the house is the oldest surviving building in Kitchener.

A local landmark and Kitchener's oldest dwelling, the 1816 homestead was restored and furnished, then opened as a living history museum in 1981. The heart of the complex is a fine Georgian-frame farmhouse that was built by and was home to the area's earliest non-Indigenous settlers, Joseph and Barbara Schneider, Pennsylvania-German Mennonites.

Schneider Haus was restored and opened as a living history museum in 1981. Costumed interpreters represent life in 1856, which was when the second generation of Schneiders occupied the homestead.

The significance of the house to the city's heritage, and the persistence of many individuals, have shielded it from destruction. Since the city's founding, the house has witnessed - and helped shape - the community's development.

Beginning as a family home, transitioning into a rental property, a provincial historic site and finally a living museum, the house's survival has been dependent on the values of the growing community that surrounds it.

The survival of Schneider Haus can be attributed to the strength and character of each community and numerous individuals it has encountered during its 200 year history - from Pennsylvania-German Mennonites, to the city, region, and eventually the country.