If you are from Brantford, you undoubtedly know that the Bell Homestead National Historic Site is the former home of the great inventor, Alexander Graham Bell. It was here on this day, July 26, 1874, that Bell grasped the principle in which his most famous invention, the telephone, would work.
Bell moved to Brantford with his family in August of 1870, when he was just 23 years old. He was very sick and his parents believed he had a lung infection known as Tuberculosis. His brothers had died from the same illness, and the Bells hoped that the clean Canadian air would help to get him well. After just eight months on the farm, Bell, finally healthy again, was offered a teaching job in Boston. He came back to Brantford to spend the summers and holidays with his family at their home on Tutela Heights, and it is here that Bell made his most important discovery. Nearly two years later, in August 1876, Bell made the world’s first successful long-distance telephone call between Brantford and Paris, Ontario. It is for these amazing reasons that Brantford became known as “The Telephone City.”
Between 1881 and 1909, the Bell Homestead, as it would become known, had six other owners. The Homestead was donated in 1909 to the Brantford Parks & Recreation Department, so that it could be opened to the public as a parkland and museum. Today, the Homestead looks very much like it did when the Bells lived here, with their original furniture, belongings, and models of Alexander Graham Bell’s first telephones.
Bell’s father, Melville, and a close friend, Reverend Henderson, started the Bell Telephone Company in Brantford in 1877 and the two men ran the company until 1880. The Henderson home is next door to the Homestead, with the original telephone office and other telephone displays for visitors to see.
Queen Elizabeth II declared the Bell Homestead a Canadian National Historic Site on June 28, 1997.
We encourage you to visit the Brantford home where Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone and see how the Bell family lived and worked. On this tour, you will learn about how Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone and see how the telephone has changed since then. For more information about available tours and for admission prices, please visit the website.
Bell Homestead National Historic Site
94 Tutela Heights Rd., Brantford ON N3T 1A1