The Blue Moon is an important piece of Waterloo Region history and continues to be a home for the creation of new local legends. In 1824, the Canada Company had bought land to establish a highway, linking Guelph to Goderich. That highway, which became known as Huron Road, because it linked its travelers to Lake Huron, was constructed from Guelph to Preston, through Stratford, and on to Goderich. As a result of the construction of Huron Road, a number of inns and taverns sprang up
throughout Southwestern Ontario to meet the needs of travelers. The Blue Moon was constructed as one of these stagecoach stops in the town of Petersburg. The main part of the building was erected in 1848, a fact which is celebrated by the Township of Wilmot Heritage Designation plaque on the front of the building (Ontario Heritage Act).
John Ernst, the inn's founder and proprietor, was actively involved in the political and social life of Petersburg and Wilmot Township. During his lifetime, Ernst held the positions of first Postmaster of Petersburg, Chairman of the Wilmot Township Board of Commissioners, Councillor with the Wellington District Council, Township Deputy Reeve, and Township Reeve.
Our Vintner's Room was formerly a gentlemen only lounge and was built in 1855. A date stone with this date can be seen on the west elevation of the building. This extension was constructed by local resident John Martini to reflect the design and materials of the original building. Martini's own residence, the Martini House, is another nearby local heritage building.
Another Township Reeve, Frederick Holwell bought the Blue Moon from Ernst while the founder was undergoing a period of financial hardship. The Grand Trunk Railway had arrived in the area and travel by train started to replace stagecoach travel along Huron Road. In addition to serving as Reeve from 1883 to 1889, Holwell also served as Township Auditor, Waterloo County Warden and Township Clerk and Treasurer.
The Blue Moon has been in continuous operation for well over a century and a half and continues to reflect the evolution of the social and commercial life of a rural Ontario community while being just minutes from the city of Kitchener.
Some Fun Historical Facts About The Blue Moon
Our banquet facility, now known as the Blue Room, was originally located at the far end of the parking lot and operated as the Petersburg Casino starting in the 1920s. It was moved to its current location and attached to the main building in 1951.
The basement was dug out and ran as a happening jazz club in the 60s and 70s. Maybe The Marcels were singing about us with their 1961 hit (link?). We now use the Cellar Room for special events like wine dinners and for private functions. Your jazz ensemble is more than welcome to host an event.
The Tree Room was originally the Ladies & Escorts room, while the Vintner's Room was once the Gentleman's lounge. We are pleased to welcome women of all ages into the Vintner's Room, with or without escort.
The large wooden table in the Vintner's Room is often referred to as the BS Table. For many decades it was a popular spot for local farmers to regularly gather and host animated discussions. Many a deal continues to be negotiated there. We have no idea what the initials might refer to.
John A's Room, our popular bar and lounge area was originally built as a kitchen for the inn. The wall fridge behind the bar in the John A's Room was one of the original ice boxes in the
The lock on the front door is the original lock created by the town's blacksmith, Peter Williker.
Longtime owner and local legend, George Schmaltz, was the first to bring pitchers of beer to Ontario
Character Defining Design and Elements
History buffs and architects appreciate the design of the building. The Blue Moon has a large rectangular plan that is reminiscent of Georgian architecture. The inn exhibits a balanced composition and a gabled roof and is almost symmetrical in design. The façade, which faces onto Snyder's Road, features four original entrances, a brick chimney and 15 double-hung 8 over 8 windows. The simplicity of the Blue Moon's design and materials reflects the functional nature of the building, and the time period in which it was constructed.
Character defining elements that contribute to the heritage value of the Blue Moon include its:
- date stone on west elevation which reads, “1855”
- proximity to the historic Huron Road.
- rectangular plan
- balanced composition
- brown-brick construction
- gabled roof
- four original doors on the front façade
- 15 double-hung 8 over 8 windows
- brick chimney
- Martini- constructed addition