Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Sunday, October 14, 2012

What's your story, pretty lady?

Set in wide lawns, the house has presence even now
I took lots of shots, free to wander the property as a park visitor, enjoying all the evocative details. I was confident that I could return to my campsite, consult Stokes and Cruikshank, and her story would be revealed. For this house on Co. Rd. 12, near today's Sandbanks Provincial Park, has stood on this corner under the walnut trees, across from the corn fields, for as long as I can remember.

Doubtless, at one time, she was inhabited. Even today, the lawns are mowed. Squirrels tend the massive nut trees, dropping projectiles at an alarming velocity (to which I can attest), for later collecting.

At some time, the house was modernized with 1950's awnings and stucco, which is being removed, hopefully by the careful architectural custodians of the provincial park on which it doubtless stands. Previously, buildings were not their concern. Today, there appears to be an interest in holiday rentals in the parks, coupled with a bit more assertive heritage protectionism. My hope is that the house will be thoroughly researched, and perhaps restored, as a revenue-producing asset of the park system.
Bricks, uncovered, mossy, flaking - laid in common bond
 My optimism is based on the fact that although boarded up, the sheathing over doors and windows is vented, which is a more thoughtful way to seal an old building...though that could be just to disperse the definite parfum de mouffette emanating from the cellar.

plain but dignified cornice mouldings

textured steel roofing, and lightning rods!
 I am excited to see the Barnum House profile of the Greek Revival style, popular in the 1840's  - a two storey gable-end centre section, symmetrical one-storey wings at each side. Entrance off-centre. The roof slope is shallow and chimneys still standing. No doorcase or window trim details visible.

Mouldings are simple, without the eaves returns and detailing I would expect. But this was the farm after all.
It was a house of some pretentions. Built in early soft brick (you can see the deterioration of the brick, either the cause or the result of the stucco covering), laid in common bond on sides and back, the more costly and showy Flemish bond on the front, the public facade that 'counted'.

Flemish bond brickwork on the facade
 - vents in the plywood

Unfortunately, the esteemed writers of The Settler's Dream, did not see fit to discuss this intriguing structure, so I am at a loss until a likewise esteemed blog reader sees this and gets in touch.

The house sits warm and dry in the October sun. I hope the winter is good to her. I hope help comes soon.

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