Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Gothic Survival

I'm not sure, but maybe it was significant that the sun disappeared and a massive cloud bank overtook the town of Picton this afternoon, just as I arrived to take a photo of this house. I haven't looked closely at the house in years - I used to think it was a castle when I was a little girl. The name of the house, "Grove Place" or the Downes house (I recall it as the Falconer house), has come up recently, as Picton recovers from the 'surprise' demolition of its 1875 Methodist Episcopal church, and begins to flex its heritage muscles. I notice that the house is up for lease; once at the leafy edge of town, it's now dead centre, surrounded by a commercial plaza, a bank and a magnetic local coffee shop. I expect it will succumb to development, unless the community rallies quickly to develop the commercial and tourism potential of an historic and quite lovely - though desperately needy - Gothic Revival style home.

According to my tattered 1984 edition of The Settler's Dream (reprinted recently to address increasing interest as a new crew of heritage nuts discovers the houses I grew up with...and in), the house was already losing ground (literally) 27 years ago when the "delightful grounds" were sold off for parking lots. The date of its construction is c.1858, and Cruikshank's litany of Gothic influences bears repeating - the porch gives a nod to Tudor styling with its buttresses and labelled doorway, the gable bargeboard suggests Elizabethan style, the oriel window recalls the Jacobean, and the complex chimney style is vaguely Tudor.

A fairy tale castle to a little farm kid. I hope fairy tales do come true and someone comes to wake this sleeping beauty.

1 comment:

  1. Is anyone in PEC reading this blog?!!? Pay attention and get a move on! If you don't know where to start, these posts suggest several first steps.