Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Stone Diaries - Princess on Princess

I've been watching this fine Kingston limestone house for some time. It sits along busy commercial Princess Street West in Kingston, near perennial favourite Aunt Lucy's Restaurant, famous when I was a kid in high school.

This little stone house goes back well further than that, and I had been worrying that its apparent neglected state, and its placement offset from the line of commercial buildings on the strip, might leave it vulnerable to demolition.
Just recently, I read the next chapter in the house's history. I caught up to it in the proceedings of the 2014 Heritage Conservation Awards from the Frontenac Heritage Foundation.

It's always gratifying to read the accounts of heritage heroes and their victories. This time was especially pleasing as not only did I find out the story of the little stone house, but I was able to applaud (vicariously) new owners Steve and Kathy Southmayd, who have already had the shake roof replaced in fine style, and are beginning a lengthy process of conservation and renovation.

From the awards program I learned that this symmetrical one and half storey stone house is the McMichael Farmhouse, built between 1827 and 1830 (the dormers are later). The  stonework is  lovely, described in the program as "rectangular blocks of hammer-dressed limestone laid in uneven courses". Inside the centre-hall form are original wood mouldings, maple floors, a central staircase. The couple have replaced plaster walls, and built a new kitchen and bathroom - indications that they are staying around to protect this lovely home for years to come.

Next time I'm in town, I will get a photo of the lovely new roof keeping this wonderful heritage home safe from the weather. For now, have a look in the Awards booklet online. And celebrate.


  1. Love this house, we would always pass it on our way out to the township. Glad to hear it's being restored, do they give tours inside the house? I'm guessing no since it's privately owned. Did they update the inside so it's a modern home or keep the original design?

  2. Hello and thanks for visiting AR! I haven't heard of any tours, but Frontenac Heritage Foundation in Kingston might have that information. Like you, I'm guessing not, as it is in private hands. Also don't know about the interior restoration, but I am encouraged by the fact that they started by restoring plaster - not a short-cut!

  3. I know its a very late reply, but I just happened to come across this post. My grandparents owned it for upwards of 20 years before the current owners took it over after their passing. They did nothing to restore it with the exception of upkeep and adding on an extra bathroom in the front of the house. They acctually were not allowed to restore the roof for many years because it was a heritage protected house. If you have any questions or wanted to see pictures Im sure I have some from childhood and you can reach out @
    Courtney Mathieson

  4. Hi Courtney, thanks for dropping by AR and sharing your memories of this house. I think it's doing okay now, don't you?