Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Monday, August 5, 2013

A Blessing of Locusts II

The Mitchell homestead 

Tall, gnarled and sinuous, stands of black locust trees invariably signal a very early homestead. The locust tree was the settlers' ornamental, some say. Sometimes these poetic trees mark only an empty spot overgrown perhaps with day lilies or lilacs, where a home once stood.

This particular grove signalled something special, and the trees were right. On a hot afternoon in Leeds and the Thousand Islands (its long post-amalgamation name does not trip lightly off the tongue) I met Locust Grove farm and the enlightened and gracious heritage activist, managed forest keeper, and steward of this most worthy early stone house on highway 2 southeast of Lansdowne.

I will revisit this place, and this post, to tell you more of the old Mitchell homestead, and the wonderful folk who understood its worth. But for now, just stand in the shade of the locusts, and do a bit of time-travelling. And if you want to read more, have a look at this 1996 article in the annals of the newsletter of the Historical Society of the Front of Leeds & Lansdowne.

The Day the Battery Died

The Fulford Block 1887-89 - and a good spot for a pub lunch

I was just getting warmed up. I had tracked down a walking tour guide of the historic buildings of the city. Had on my comfy hill-climbing sandals. We had refreshed ourselves with a walk along the scenic river-front park.

view from a pub lunch

We had even found a great pub with an outdoor patio, and enjoyed good beer and salads. Got myself oriented, selected a route for the forced march....walked a half -block or so when that pesky battery warning started blinking at me through the view-finder.

polychrome slate: a local specialty
Wall Street Wesleyan Methodist Church 1830

Then nothingness. Nothing except a reminder that is it possible, and indeed, preferable, to wander and look and discuss and appreciate first-hand, without wondering about camera angle, or just right light. Worked out very well actually.

Hubbell's Building  c.1825
 Brockville's own Renaissance palazzo
But I did make myself a promise to return to exquisite Brockville, to pay homage to its history and its historic architecture. And to be a bit more attentive to the needs of my battery.

Presbyterian church c.1879
Publow Terrace, c.1895