Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Ain't it Grand?

Breakenridge-Hawley House (1818) Niagara on the Lake
I fell in love with the weathered structure in this photo. The handpainted lettering calls it the Queensborough Hotel. A check through the Elzevir Township history tells its story as McMurray's store and displays a photo of the owners Blanche and Clayton in front of the store in 1983. The front windows were 4-lights only, but the recessed doorway is as was...What endears me to the place is its classical pretentions. The wide heavy cornice moulding below the roof, the ventilators in the gable ends, the corner boards emulating classical pilasters and the pedimented window heads. (By comparison, the photo at the top, of the elegant Neo-classical house in NOL). Lovely how the same inspiration came to a small north of 7 village.

Notice the similarities in proportion between the Queensborough structure (barring the shed addition of course) and the refined Roblin House just north of Belleville? Love the stately shallow gable and the triangle venilator in the eaves. No eaves returns in the Queensborough example, though,  and no suggestion of their having been removed.

There used to be a cartoon in the newspapers. The artist ( Bill Keene I seem to recall) drew dotted  lines illustrating a small boy's circuitous route as he responded to delicious distractions on his way to a destination or a call to dinner. I would love to see the path that architectural ideas and influences took in Ontario's building years. Who brought the pattern book to town? Who travelled to the city and discovered a new idea? Think of this building when it was new and fresh and proud!

Roblin House (after 1851)

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