Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Dutch Treat

charming Dutch duo 1924
Saturday night we gathered at a neighbour's house to celebrate Dutch Liberation Day, the 1945 liberation of the battle-weary Netherlands by Allied - most memorably Canadian - troops. Follow this Canadian War Museum link for powerful actual newspaper accounts from that time.

Together we shared our Dutch heritage (mine a faint recollection of a 1651 arrival and a farm at 52nd Street and the Hudson, New Amsterdam,) others remembering  more clearly family emigrating shortly after the war, or in the early 1950's. I recall my dad's admiration of our neighbourhood's newly arrived Pleizier family, who readily took their place among the hard-working farmers along our road.

one of a pair of 1924 Dutch Colonial houses in Belleville
Thanks to our hostess Annette, we ate Dutch food.  Oliebolen. Roll-mop herring. Edam and Gouda. Chocolate. I found a  Dutch Baby recipe online (would have been Yorkshire pudding just the other side of the channel) but no-one recognized its heritage.

We admired Peter's collection of Delft Blue plates and watched the stunning CBC documentary The Liberation of Holland.

To honour all Dutch connections everywhere, I offer this selection of Dutch Colonial Revival houses. I love their modest compact forms, the gambrel roofs, the restrained decorative elements, the warm and welcoming verandahs.
I recently made the acquaintance of this welcoming home
The form was one of the many architectural styles of colonial North America which were nostalgically revived during the early years of the twentieth century, and right up to the present day.

wonderful shaped dormers, shingle-clad gable ends
The gambrel roof home was just one of the styles from Holland that were recreated in the new land - in fact, like all early settlers, new arrivals started out in log shanties. Many of the early Dutch Colonial homes were of stone, or brick. The gambrel roof shape came late in the colonial era, late 1700s that is.

Although it's unrealistic to expect extant versions from New Amsterdam in the seventeenth century, this one gets close.

The top two Belleville houses are oriented with their gable ends to the street; the white house turns the gable end with its neat shingles and their patterned detail, and a lunette, towards the neighbours. There are several other Dutch Colonial Revival examples in town; I'll add them later.

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