House That Pink Pills Built - Courtesy J. Wayne Fulford

Last Update 8-13-97

      Glimpse what life was like for the wealthy and servants alike in the Edwardian era at Fulford Place mansion. Tour the elegant drawing room embellished with ornate architectural details and the dark baronial dining room that hosted most of Canada's early 20th century Prime Ministers. Learn how "pink pills" made it possible for owner Senator George T Fulford to make his fortune.

Officially opened in summer 1993 as phase one of a museum.

287 King Street East, Brockville, Ont. K6V 1E1 (613)498-3003

Visiting hours are Wednesdays and weekends from 1:00 to 5:00 pm

Adults $2.50 Students and Seniors $2.00 Families of 5 or more $10.00

Historical Highlights

* Built by Senator George Taylor Fulford in 1899-1900, this remarkable 20,000 sq. ft. mansion is one of the few remaining, completely intact Edwardian homes in North America with an original collection and Olmsted-designed landscape plans. As a result, it has been designated a National Historic Site by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada.

* Ten acres of property and a picturesque-style villa (site of the present Fulford Place) were purchased in 1895 by the Fulford family. Today, the property sits on three acres of land, as the original 10 acres have been sub-divided into private lots and sold. The house sits on land originally granted by the Crown to Loyalist Colonel Edward Jessop.

* In 1896, George T. Fulford approached the Olmsted Brothers, the prestigious American firm of landscape architects founded by Frederick Law Olmsted Sr. This firm had been responsible for the design of Central Park in New York City and Mount Royal Park in Montreal.

* Designed by Albany architect, Albert W. Fuller, Fulford Place formed a grand backdrop for the gracious and luxurious style of living pursued by the new wealthy business classes at the end of the turn of the century.

* John Mix of Brockville was hired as the general contractor and J. Hoodless of Hamilton was responsible for the interior finishes.

* A wide array of international styles decorate the public rooms on the ground floor, including the French Rococo style of the drawing room, and the dark baronial Italian Renaissance style of the dining room.

* The collection at Fulford Place contains over 8,000 pieces - from oriental ivory carvings and European porcelain to imported and domestic furniture. Many pieces were collected during the family's grand tours of the world.

* The original grounds included formal Italian gardens which cost a mere $500 in supplies at the time of development.

The way life used to be . . . at Fulford Place

* In his rising years, George T. Fulford established a social and political network at home and abroad. Politically, he served as a Brockville city councillor for 12 years and in 1900, he was appointed to the Senate by Sir Wilfrid Laurier.

* In 1880, George T. Fulford married Mary Wilder White (1856-1946), a gracious and popular debutante and gifted musician from Salem, Massachusetts.

* The first and second children born to George and Mary were daughters: Dorothy (1881-1949) and Martha (1883-1910). The heir, George II (1902-1987), was born at Fulford Place during a weekend visit by then Prime Minister Sir Wilfrid and Lady Laurier.

* Fulford Place household staff were responsible for preparing the daily meals for family and guests, doing the laundry and other household duties while the crew of the family's 130 foot steam yacht: Magedoma worked on maintaining the house and property in the spring and fall following their summer duties aboard the yacht. A resident gardener and coachman maintained the grounds and vehicles.

* Staff quarters were bright, modern and had hot and cold running water. As a result, the Fulfords had no trouble in hiring and keeping staff, even though during this period, many domestics were lured into factory jobs which paid higher wages and demanded less hours.

* Upon George I's death in 1905, Mary Fulford and the young "Master George" lived in warmer climates closer to her family in San Diego, California, while staff maintained the property for their seasonal returns.

The Golden Era of Patent Medicines

* Building Fulford Place was made possible by Senator Fulford's "cure-all" remedy, "Pink Pills for Pale People". George T. Fulford bought the patent to "Dr. Williams Pink Pills for Pale People" from Dr. William Jackson for $53.01 in 1895.

* Until the discovery and mass distribution of antibiotices and effective vaccines, communicable diseases such as diphtheria, polio and tuberculosis were major, if not fatal health problems in the early 1900s. G. T. Fulford & Company of Brockville was a successful example of a patent medicine business that advertised extensively to this market to exploit the desire for cheap and easy "miracle cures".

* The introduction of "pink pills" to the world market was made possible when George T. Fulford entered into a partnership with Willis T. Hanson, a drug packer in New York who offered a wider distribution of the product into the USA, and Central and South America.

* Greater globalization of the G. T. Fulford & Company occurred during 1893-1905 breaking into markets in Britain, France, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, India and Burma. Fulford was preparing to tackle Japan and China when he was killed in October, 1905 when the car he was in was sideswiped by a streetcar in West Newton, Connecticut.

* The G. T. Fulford & Company experienced diminishing profits due to the disruption of European trade during World War I and the introduction of income taxes.

* The G. T. Fulford & Company was also responsible for the Baby's Own product line of the 40s and 50s and the 1970s Love line of cosmetic products.

* Lack of success with an anti-inflammatory products line and cosmetics line forced the G. T. Fulford & Company to restructure international operations and sell off assets until the company evenutally went into receivership in 1989.

The Ontario Heritage Foundation

* Fulford Place is a property of the Ontario Heritage Foundation, an agency of the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Recreation, which holds the property in trust for the people of Ontario. Fulford Place and its contents were donated by the estate of the late George T. Fulford II and George T. Fulford III in October, 1991.

* This project has been made possible through the ongoing support of the Brockville community, and grants from the provincial government's Anti-Recession and jobsOntario Capital Fund programs.

Family Background

* The Fulford Family, one of the oldest in Upper Canada, settled in Elizabethtown (later called Brockville) in 1783.

* United Empire Loyalist family.

* George T. Fulford I was born in 1852.

* George I was a prominent businessman/manufacturing chemist after an apprenticeship in his brother's store.

* Fulford I served 12 years as a Brockville Town Councillor and was appointed to the Senate in 1900.

* George T. Fulford II was born at Fulford Place in 1902.

* In 1923 Fulford II was appointed to the Board of Directors of the G. T. Fulford Company.

* George T. Fulford II was appointed Vice-President tot he G. T. Fulford Company in 1929.

* In 1931-32, Fulford II was elected a Brockville alderman and in 1933 was elected MPP in Mitchell Hepburn's Liberal government.

* George Fulford II served as an MP from 1940-1945 and 1949-1953.

* The family entertained on a regular basis - During the family's residency, all of Canada's Prime Ministers were guests at Fulford Place.

* Fulford Place is an excellent example of the time and class of one important and sophisticated section orf society in Edwardian Canada.

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