Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Monday, May 21, 2012

Welcome back m'lady

Glanmore, 257 Bridge Street East, Belleville

Exterior painting only a teeny hint of
what you will experience inside

A graceful tip of the flower-bedecked hat to the outstanding staff at Glanmore National Historic Site, for the vision, the expertise, the sheer heart-breaking work they have devoted to the recent plaster ceiling consolidation and paint restoration at Belleville's exquisite Glanmore. 

This Second Empire treasure re-opened Friday May 18 to great accolades - and rightly so.

If you have never been, you have missed a great deal. If you go now, for the first time, you will be absolutely (to quote my father-in-law) gob-smacked.

What Hanley Hath Wrought!
Mansard Roof system, NHS material

Summer Hours: June-August, Tuesday through Sunday, 10:00 to 4:30

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

making a graceful exit

pilasters with gentle curve or 'entasis'
 It's been years since I've been in Northport...years since I looked at buildings that have always caused a skip in the heartbeat, through the slightly wiser eyes of a history of architecture student. I have tended to overlook buildings with obvious add-on dormers, because they are just so...unlovely.

But on Monday morning I made the acquaintance of two folks I knew I would enjoy and learn much from. And these folks, who live in the area, and know their way around PEC's early buildings, told me to be sure to have a look for this decaying house in Northport village.

I remember Northport from my early days, travelling with dad to deliver a load of tomatoes  to the cannery there - I think I found the building, restored with some folk-art figures smiling from the windows. Curious.

brick nogging or infill between hand-hewn structural members

On my return home, I had a look at SD for details about this lovely old place, which clearly needs a rescue very soon. Vindicated for my modern dormer snobbery by Stokes' comment about "awkward dormers", I got past the modern chimney and windows, the out-of-period porches, the peeling paint, and the rather intimidating giant wasp nest near the amazing front door, to appreciate the Greek Revival features of this "stylish" Demille house, dating from the mid-1830's.

doorcase elements
This house is outstanding for its many features in the 'new' Greek Revival style, created in what is likely the native white pine.  Substantial eaves returns and front door panels betray the influences, as do the pilasters bordering the door and the sidelights adjacent, the delicate cornices of the windows, and the fluted cornerboards.

There are a number of houses in this village which have the same roots - American-flavoured Loyalist homes, demonstrating that new republic's love affair with Greek history, political beliefs and architectural elements, all transported to a tiny Upper Canada community (which, I'm told was once a happening town) along the Bay of Quinte.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Shopping District - Castleton

pilasters, eaves returns, classical symmetry in frame
My mother raised me right. To her, it was just polite to send thank you notes directly after the event which had brought joy. I have been remiss.

I owe my thanks to the Northumberland branch of the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario, and to Nanci Anderson in particular, who remembered to invite the members of Heritage Belleville to a celebration of the wit and wisdom of the incomparable Peter John Stokes, pioneer in the field of heritage architecture in Canada. And to the lovely folks of this organization, who worked hard to organize the day, yet remembered to save a bit of energy to make an out-of-towner welcome.

an incongruous but sweet Italianate porch
rare original 12 x 12 sash
The presentation took place in the unique and lovely Castleton town hall, which displays some inspired brick-work. But the building that caught my eye, and kept me trotting back and forth across the intersection in the sun and wind for yet another look, was this amazing Castleton General Store.

Post Office, LCBO, general merchandise - what more could a village want? Judging by the traffic in and out, folks are pretty satisfied with the services offered. Built in 1870, and featuring some of the original counters and display cases, the building has Greek Revival grandeur - reminds me of the old store in Queensborough, though the years have been kinder to this structure.
great doors - asymmetrical lights
lovely Victorian store window

view from old Percy Road
The Castleton General Store glowed serenely in the spring sunshine, satisfied with her years of service to the little community, confident that she is still making a contribution, and secure in the knowledge that someone is still taking good care of her. She is a proud of her, Castleton.

Getting stoned with St. Stephen

Not long ago I wrote about an English-village church I'd "discovered" on the grotty corner of Bathurst and College at the edge of Kensington Market. Today I found this link in an award-winning online architectural conservation e-bulletin I subscribe to: . Editor Catherine Nasmith is an architect and former president of ACO Ontario, knows a thing or two about heritage research and restoration, and does not suffer fools gladly.

An item in the newsletter caught my eye, a link to a Globe and Mail article about that wonderful old St.Stephen in-the-Fields (1858), a source for good in its diverse community.

This new (courageous, innovative, smacking of desperation) use for a facility dedicated to St. Stephen and his unfortunate end, gives new meaning to the term getting stoned. Sorry.