Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

North Country Fair

Last fall (how long ago it now seems) I took the road less travelled along Central and North Frontenac county roads, following my nose for old buildings and stories.

This area is part of the well-known settlement story, of the tantalizing promises of the Colonization Roads which led immigrants hungry for land of their own, and a future, to break their hearts on the stony ground of the country north of today's Highway 7.

The story is usually told by the structures still standing...a tumbledown log house attests to the reality - the farm may have provided a small living for a large family, but there were never the resources to build that next house of frame or stone of which the settler dreamed.

Nevertheless, there were a number of fine farms and well-maintained homes and properties, attesting to the fickle nature of geology - they were the birthright of  folks whose land grant fell onto a band of good soil, which was all one needed - that and good health, extraordinary luck, and strong sons. Sounds Biblical.

so few general stores now

These are a few of the lovely places I visited - I don't know their story, but they have stories to tell.

 There's a terrific history of Frontenac County, published a number of years ago, titled County of a Thousand Lakes: The History of the County of Frontanac 1673 - 1973, published in 1982. Not surprisingly, it's a large volume; I've borrowed it twice through BPL's most obliging inter-library loan department, and still haven't made it all the way through.
resourceful sign-maker
So much more to see and learn about. Questions tumble out. Is there a desert in Desert Lake? When did cottages start to grow into monster-homes on the lake?

 Why are the stone buildings of Harrowsmith striped? Where did the old cabin resorts go? Can I find that great twisty road north of Sydenham again?

When did folks stop going to church here? What destroyed these small communities? Who are the folks who live here today?
thanks to Vintage Kingston FB

So many stories to tell.

There may just be a new book of Frontenac County history (from the ground up) coming soon. Stay tuned.

For now, a few photos to take me back to the back roads and communities of Frontenac- and hopefully entice you to go too.


  1. All those sights... all that history... and a beautiful day to boot. Looks like another lovely area to explore.

  2. Hello, I enjoy your blog and photos very much. Can you please tell me how I can find topics on your blog? I cannot seem to find a way to get to a particular topic. On the right there are photos of buildings, with descriptions, but clicking on a photo does not take me to its page. If I type, "Gothic revival with snowdrops" in the Search field at the upper-left, I cannot find anything about that topic. I see the archives, but apart from going through each month, I'm wondering if there is a quicker way to look at the contents. Many thanks.

  3. Hello Brian. I think that search field works for more generic topics. I tried 'Toronto' and 'Gothic Revival' and got relevant posts. The wee photos at left are just a Blogger gallery, they don't link to posts. Does that help? Let me know what topic you're looking for, and I can maybe suggest some specific posts.

  4. The wee photos at the right, I should say! Thanks for visiting ancestralroofs.