Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Drama on Wilson Street

Every so often I come upon a story which highlights the need for constant vigilance along the heritage battlelines. I am working on a post about old Ancaster. In using Google Streetview, googling the address, and looking on Historical Hamilton's website to find out some history on a property I photographed at 389 Wilson Street East, I have stumbled upon May 2014 drama which (given the slowness of legal proceedings, especially if there is ACO or other heritage pushback to a sale/potential demolition) is likely still going on.

What I know for sure:
-in May 2014 offers were being considered by the Superior Court of Ontario for a block of three properties in old Ancaster, at 398-406 Wilson, after the owner defaulted on $980,000 on a mortgage. Hard enough to fail big without doing it in the public eye.
-when we visited in September, the small frame house (3 apartments) at 406 was being painted
-when I checked out the coffee shop at 402 Wilson online, I learned that it had closed in 2013 and the bailiff had taken over the property. Can't recall if there was a business there this fall
-when we visited, the business in the stone building at 406 Wilson was still operating
-there is open space on either side of the stone building, so the block is big real estate.

By the way, the stone building is the 164 year old Marr-Phillipo House, a designated property. Historical Hamilton has little info, but I turned up a Flickr image of the 1991 (1981?) designation plaque:

"This fine stone residence was built for cabinet-maker Adam Marr about 1840 and served as the home of  John Phillipo, stone-mason and village constable until the turn of the century. A typical example of contempory Georgian architecture it possesses a balanced arrangements of elements in the main facade. Notable features of the style also include the transom light, narrow cornice, gable roof, corner quoins and returned eaves. The structure's use as a residence, then retail centre, demonstrates the adaptability of  buildings."

Hope Ancaster can still make the case...and that someone replaces the chimneys this style wants. Incidentally, where is that plaque?

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