In her regular column Memory Boxes she said a few historic houses embody the rural history – and the Thomas house on Gordonton Rd is associated with one of the city’s oldest settler families, who gave their name to nearby Thomas Rd.
“Fred Thomas was a member of the 4th Regiment of the Waikato Militia and for his services he received a rural land grant to the north of what became the city of Hamilton. Married to Catherine Buchanan in 1866, Fred was the father of eight children. He died as a result of a farm injury in 1888. Three of Fred and Catherine’s sons became farmers, including Arthur (died 1959) who commissioned Hamilton architect John Warren to build him a brick residence in 1929…
…Typical of the bungalow style, the house has a lower pitched roof than would find with a villa, bracketed eaves and gable ends and combination casement and fanlight windows. Chunky pillars frame the entrance porch and bay windows provide more generous lighting to the main rooms of the house.
The brick and tile constructiion conveys an impression of solidity and farming success.
Waikato Museum holds a suite of architectural drawings for the Thomas house in its collection. Happily the house still has a generous garden setting from which can be enjoyed elevated views across the suburban landscape of Rototuna.
Presumably Fred and Arthur Thomas would be stunned to see what has become of their farmland today.”
Heritage consultant Ann McEwan’s Memory Boxes runs every Monday in the Waikato Times.