Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Thursday, November 22, 2018

They live to tell the tale...for now

Solomon House 1775 Lunenburg
Okay, we're not an old country.
Our built heritage reflects the short time since Europeans invaded the indigenous lands we now call Canada.
We're not old, but for some reason, we have trouble retaining even the not-so-old structures that tell our story. I've ranted this rant before. Perhaps I should just number it. 93. Then AR readers could be cautioned: "Watch out, here comes #93."

St.Ann's Schoolhouse 1844 Victoria

Admittedly, our first-built were of perishable log and lumber. But hey, Canada has been building of relatively robust stone since the late 1600s, in some of our earliest developing regions. The 1600s stones in Quebec City. The shake-clad 1770s Georgians raised by New Brunswick Loyalists.

Notre Dame des Victories begun 1687, Quebec City

Sadly, I haven't ticked off as many as I want of the properties on my 'life list' of the country's oldest. But I intend to. A return to Nova Scotia is in order. As is a junket to Amherstburg.
Ermatinger House 1812/14 Sault Ste. Marie

And this (way) past fall, we began to make plans to trace the Cornwall to Montreal leg of a journey completed in 1840 by stage-coach driver William Weller. Here's a link to an AR post, my response to history writer Dan Buchanan's recent book on the subject, 48 Hours to Montreal. I followed Dan's literary/historical journey from Toronto to Maitland in that post, then waved goodbye as the sleigh disappeared into the distance, as I hadn't visited some of the historic pre-1840 spots Dan mentions in the book, and had no photos.

Daniel Reynolds house 1786, Wellington

So the D and I had spring designs on Prescott, the drowned early villages along the St. Lawrence Seaway, and Cornwall, all places we haven't spent enough time in, and beyond.
Laura Secord House 1803 Queenston

One of the historic houses we were planning to visit, one I have longed to see for years is Inverarden, an outstanding house near Cornwall, dated 1816/23. Designated 2007. Then just yesterday, I noted a post about Inverarden, forwarded to a FB group I belong to, by a fellow who'd posted to a Cornwall Vintage Archives site. Another member shared the "conversation starter." (Good old Facebook, btw. I get many great architectural leads from my FB account. Guess that algorithm works, yes? )

McFarland House 1800 Niagara on the Lake

So, the Inverarden news was not good. The property is closed, the house is boarded up, and deteriorating, the sign says 'No Trespassing."

So many recognize the value of historic places, so few dollars to go around. Or so little will. So, as enthusiasts will, we kvetch.

not Meyer's Mill, but Burrell Axe Factory 1792, Belleville

Old Hay Bay Church 1792 Adolphustown

Old Hay Bay Church in Adolphustown (right)  is in the centre of a flurry of activity to raise funds for a restoration project. So I want to take a moment to celebrate volunteer groups and individual owners (you know who you are) who take matters into their own hands to preserve our built heritage.

Something good just happened. As I've been going through the Wikipedia list I am gaining heart. I think I might just turn this post into a celebration of our built heritage, and leave the rest of the Inverarden story to its own post.

Here's a photo from Wikipedia (note the attribution) of Inverarden. In my next post, I will tell its story, and highlight an apparent government-apathy-sponsored demolition by neglect of a hugely important history story for Ontarians.  (Admittedly, there is a plan, dated 2004, readily accessible on the Internet. So, GC, don't hesitate to get in touch and prove me horribly wrong here. That would be a retraction I would love to make.)
Inverarden 1816 photo credit: Creative Commons - Wikipedia

I've permission to show you photos taken over the years by a new FB friend in Montreal.

And I want to show you an amazing similarity with a Regency cottage whose story I have told often on Ancestral Roofs. For today, enjoy revisiting these lovely old buildings. Should you want to read posts I may have written (since this blog isn't searchable) just search 'ancestral roofs and the target topic.

Last word to Inverarden. Isn't she a Regency beauty? 

1 comment:

  1. Inverarden is a tragedy. It's literally starting to rot and decay, and it's a massively important historical building. One of the oldest in the area. I posted about it in my blog in 2012, and it was in dismal condition then. I can just imagine what another 6 years has added.