Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Nary a Rogue to be Seen

This week I have enjoyed two delightful walks around the village of Newburgh. Two, as I wanted to capture its early buildings in their best light, both those facing the morning sun and those inclined toward sunset musings.

Thanks to  my 'new' copy of Rogues' Hollow (Peter John Stokes, Tom Cruickshank and Robert Heaslip; ACO, 1983) I had planned my quest well. Thanks also to the village's small size (though bracingly hilly terrain) I was able to find and capture all of the places I wished to study further.

 And in all those hours of walking, I shared the streets with 3 dog-walkers, and one distinguished gentleman, who would have tipped his hat, I'm sure, had he been wearing one.

 I recently remarked to friend Brenda that I'm a bit like the squirrels, dashing about in the last of the warm fall weather, storing up loads of photos for winter enjoyment. The word 'nuts' did come up in the conversation.

In a village so well documented, and so intriguingly preserved, compulsive photographing is inevitable. Heart-breaking beauty. Remembering always that real early treasure can be found under vinyl and insulbrick, or hiding under signs of neglect or unsympathetic additions.

The distinctive profile of 1850's structures - tall parapet-end townhouses, wide gentle roof pitches, bold Greek revival cornices and returns - and the wonderful use of stone from rubble to fine ashlar make exploring this village an absolute delight. Indeed if anyone had seen me, they might have wondered what that woman was grinning about.

Rogues' Hollow is a scholarly work, examining not just the buildings of the village, but the streetscape, the vegetation and topography, all in the interests of preservation planning. It's filled with scaled plan maps of each neighbourhood.

At the end, A Comparative Pictorial Glossary of Historic Newburgh's Architectural Details and a Glossary round out the feast. I could dine out on this treasure for weeks. Now are we academics or geeks?

The chapter titled Village Analysis: Streetscape and Buildings articulates (for those struck somewhat dumb in their presence) the features that give the village such character: the human scale of the buildings, narrow roadways, natural features (the river, the sloping terrain, open spaces and vegetation.) Focal points and distant views: I get that, now that you point it out. The mix of residential, commercial and industrial buildings - pre-zoning laws. Likely pretty nasty at the time, but picturesque now. Be prepared. I intend to take you back to Newburgh a few more times.


  1. This is very interesting, and I see another book that I must get. Did you see the former cheese factory? I was in that around 1960. Skim milk powder was also produced there. I think the building is now used as an apartment building, but I'm not sure. It's been many, many years since I've been there, but I always enjoyed being in Newburgh. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Hi Brian. To be honest, I didn't capture the old cheese factory, although I trudged out Academy Street to the Academy. I think if you go to Google Streetview you can see it as it was when the Streetview camera through the village. I'm guessing you are a cheese geek, or an inspector or something? Lots of cheese factories in your past!

    1. Hello. Here is a link to street view for Google Maps. This puts you at Academy Street & Front Street. If you turn left at the intersection, just go down Academy a little bit and you will see a white two-floor building on the right side of the road. That's the old cheese factory. I see the former doors are boarded over. No, I'm not a former inspector. LOL. I've just been to a lot of cheese factories over the years; not too many have survived so I rarely get to one these days, although I did stop at Maple Dale and Ivanhoe in the summer.

    2. Hello, Thanks to HG, we now know that the old cheese factory has been demolished, so it's no wonder you didn't see it. I didn't know of the demolition until HG posted. Since then, I found a Facebook page about the cheese factory. In the centre, you'll see photos from September, 2014, noting that the factory is about to be demolished. I've also seen other sites with photos of the interior after the building was abandoned. It was in very rough shape (as in "should be condemned due to safety concerns"). Here is the FB page:

  3. I'm very sorry to say that the cheese factory has been torn down.

    1. Thank you. When did this happen? The latest street image in Google Maps is from May 2014. Do you know why it was torn down? I thought it was being used for apartments.