Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Inge Va the sign I did

I've been wanting to see 'Inge-Va' for years. Tuesday was my opportunity. My guy was visiting a local vintage motorcycle enthusiast, leaving me with time to wander the Perth neighbourhoods I hadn't gotten to on our last visit. As I trudged along Wilson Street East in the late summer heat, my old house radar went off, presented with the clearest signal possible - towering black locust trees in a green oasis ahead.

And there it was. Inge-Va. Now a museum, property of the Ontario Heritage Trust, it is to be hoped that this perfect house will be granted a dignified old age.  It's one of the constellation of 3 prominent early homes built by three pillars of early Perth society, its influential lawyers Daniel McMartin, James Boulton and Thomas Radenhurst. The McMartin house is in Federal hands, and preserved well. Ironically, the Boulton house (yes, those Boultons) has fallen on hard times. I wrote about the trio back in July.

The Radenhurst home was built in 1824. The tourists love the scandal of the 1833 duel fought for the honour of a young woman, which resulted in the death of Robert Lyon, a young relative and law apprentice of Thomas Radenhurst.

I loved the step back in time that this shady corner lot offered. Unfortunately, the place was closed. Rule-bound as I am, I hovered outside the chain for a few moments.

I quickly succumbed to the lure of the shady spot and invited myself under the chain across the entrance for a quick stroll up the mossy circular drive under the locust trees. I  admired the Scottish stone masons' work, the 12x12 sash windows, and elaborate elliptical fan-lighted doorcase with curvilinear glazing bars in the sidelights. And that gorgeous window in the classic Ontario farmhouse gable.
the less posh kitchen wing

Oh, and my reason for breaking the rules? The home's third owners, Cyril and Winifred Inderwick, who donated this treasure to the Ontario Heritage Trust, renamed their house 'Inge-Va'. The words are Tamil for "come here." How could I refuse?

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