Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Monday, June 6, 2011

Delicious Places

Silly me. It's often called The Layer Cake Church.I always thought it was because of the luscious droop pattern bargeboard, which makes me think of dripping frosting on a particularly scrumptious confection. You have to admit, this is an exquisite board and batten Carpenter Gothic building, with its steep gables, its finial, its wonderful large lancet arch windows, hood mouldings on its rectangular windows, and its beautifully crafted recessed arched sort-of-Renaissance doorway. The building was designed and built by the village carpenter, Abraham Harris, for the Mechanic's Institute, an early form of library cum trades training institution, in 1859, in historic and appealing Bath Ontario.

The lovely building once served as a Masonic Lodge, and at one time in its history it housed the Presbyterian and Anglican congregations, simultaneously. And THAT's when it became known as the layer-cake church. Heaven forfend they should share a space in those righteous days.

The community has worked heroically to maintain the structure, and it now houses one of the most attractive and appealing libraries I have ever encountered. My friend Elaine and I dropped in on Saturday and the delightful librarian gave us a tour, and made us feel very welcome. My new favourite spot to read is definitely the second floor with its plain wood floors, its wing chairs and footstools, gorgeous floor to ceiling windows, good carpets and a selection of artwork. Only....too far to go with my book under my arm!


  1. Reading this post gave me a tasty memory of Wren's 'wedding cake' steeple on St Bride's Church near Fleet Street in London -'s_Church.

    It's good for me to have periodic reminders that not ALL the interesting and attractive buildings are in the UK!

  2. Ah, but where have we colonials always looked for inspiration!?

  3. Well, true enough, but I must turn my vision inward, inside the coastlines, yea, verily, inside provincial borders. As you said, "I never realized that there was history too, close at hand, beside my own home." You're so wise, especially in quoting one of my favourite authors.