Volunteers and members are at the heart of the Lawrence House Centre for the Arts. The Lawrence House was constructed in 1892 by the Lawrence family. In 1878 Jacob Lawrence had moved to Sarnia and opened a sawmill on the St. Clair River. His son William Lawrence expanded the business by bringing in lumber from Northern Ontario. The sawmill was known for its fire sash windows, doors and cabinets. The Lawrence House was built in the Queen Anne style at a cost of $30,000. The family resided in the home until 1940.
In 1970, the house, located at 127 Christina Street S., was donated to the City of Sarnia. “For a while the city didn’t know what to do with it,” explains The Lawrence House Centre for the Arts board chairman Leonard Segall. “It was run-down and unkempt.” A large donation by Suncor made it possible to renovate the house. The work was completed in 1986, and for over a decade the house was part of the Sarnia Library System. In 2001, the Lawrence House Centre for the Arts was incorporated as a not-for-profit registered charitable organization. Their mission is to support the visual, literary and performing arts.