The Abandoned Farm House in Carleton Place — Disappearing Farms

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Photos by Finz19-Ontario Abandoned Places

Please note I did not take these pictures, as contrary to beliefs I do try to stay out of trouble:)

This is an old farmhouse on HWY 7 – Photos by Finz19

In Lanark County we have many farms that have been forced into abandonment like the one in the above picture. What kind of toll does it take on the former owners of these lost properties?  It would be false to say that farmers don’t become attached to their land and the memories of family connections.  Farmers take nothing and turn it into something, year after year and it becomes their life force.

The farm pictured above used to be the McCrae farm on Hwy #7 near Carleton Place. Murray and Audrey MacRae once proudly owned this home and their children’s names were: Linda, Cathy, Ann, Heather, Don, Jimmy, and Howie.  Now the buildings are in shambles and the walls are covered in graffiti.

 


Carolann Lowry McRae told me that the family initially sold it to an individual who bequeathed it to his son, who in turn sold it to a developer. As Sandra Hurdis Finigan from MPP Scott Reid’s office pointed out- “I did some research on the McRae farm on Hwy 7 for work. According to both distant family and Beckwith Township the farm was bought by a person who has let it get to this state”.

Miles away another kind of scenario played out in 2014. Frank Meyers on Meyers Creek Road near Trenton finally lost his farm to the government after a long battle. Is this what should happen when your family farms the same plot of land for 2½ centuries? “This is heritage property,” said the 81-year-old, pointing at his freshly plowed fields in Quinte West, Ont. This is the property that was given to my forefathers when they fought for the British army against the Americans. This land was designated for us.”

Today, the Meyers land has finally been expropriated and designated for something else: a new headquarters for Joint Task Force 2, the Canadian military’s top-secret special operations squad.  I am grateful for the military, who protect our freedoms, but what about Mr. Meyer’s freedom to live out his life on his own land and pass it onto future generations, as is his right?


Word is that the government acquires property like this for the “greater good”, whether willingly or by expropriation with not a care or thought into the history. More often than enough they do nothing with it after they acquire it. Frank & Marjorie Meyers are another prime example of what is happening to some of our farmland.  Frank will never cash the cheque they gave him as he wants his farm back.


In my opinion, the right thing to do would have been to let Frank Meyers sign a lease that allowed him lifetime rights to harvest. When they pass away–maybe then the government can take it and use it. Still wrong in my mind, but I don’t control the world. We can deem rights for a heritage building, so why not land? To think this is a unique situation, is to live with your head in the sand.

I feel for the families that have lived and worked their land for generations only to have them either taken away or deteriorate. Surely something better can be done. Have we no respect at all these days? We are now losing farms and farmland at an alarming rate, and I worry for the future as there are fewer resources now to sustain this industry. Each time I look at old photos of our former Lanark farmers from years gone by I know for a fact- one day we will regret the loss of our farms.

 

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Photos by Finz19-Ontario Abandoned Places

 

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Photos by Finz19-Ontario Abandoned Places

 

 

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Photos by Finz19-Ontario Abandoned Places

 

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So what happened to the old McRae farm?

Ted Hurdis —actually the province paid for the land to allow them to expand hwy. #7 from two lanes to four. I believe they then turned ownership back to the original owner who in turn sold it to a local contractor. There are a number of reasons it hasn’t been utilized since then.

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

13 responses »

  1. Thank you so much for enlightening me, I was always so curious as why it lay empty. Our government is becoming worst every day. How are we supposed to trust them? I feel so sorry for this forced takeover. This Canada, one of the least densely country in the world. Why do this when we don’t even come close to lacking land.?

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  2. Linda, the farmhouse in the picture above belonged to my mother in law’s family. My mother in law was raised in that home, and they farmed the land. My husband remembers going there as a child. Thought I would pass this on in case you wanted to do a story on the farmhouse.

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  3. The pictures above are of the McCrae farm on Hwy#7.There were two boys,Jim McCrae for sure & a younger brother I think named Howie or Howard.There use to be a bungalow on their property too at one time if i recall.I recently drove past there and seen the graffiti on it and the shambles it appears to be now in or becoming. Made me sad to see it like that as I thought back on my youth in CP. It was a working farm. Canadian Government(s) and their entities don’t care about farm’s and farmland.They acquire property/farms like this for the “greater good” they say, whether willingly or by expropriation with not a care or thought into the history, the land,the people & animals that land feeds or the family connections..More often than enough they do nothing with it after they acquire it….Frank & Marjorie Meyers are prime examples of which you mentioned. We drove and met him after we learned of his story at his farm and supported his stance on fighting for his land and his barns.You would love meeting him Linda,I think. A wealth of history he is.. In the Meyers family since 1798 feeding Canadians as long on prime 1 farmland.The government(s) had already taken so much of their family land over the past decades or century.He pleaded that they don’t tear down atleast one of his barns which was built by the hands of his grandfather and father in 18??. But they bulldozed all of his barns anyways and now it all has been sitting there empty and idle since. The land the barns sat on is not being farmed,no one is allowed on the property,signs up everywhere.Compliments of the government. The JTF2 are not even going to move there now for atleast another 5 years now, if ever.How crazy is that. Frank will never cash the cheque they gave him. He wants his farm back. If you ate today,thank a farmer they say. And I do. To them I am forever grateful and hold the utmost of respect and I also respect our history.

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  4. I was raised on a farm and cannot help feeling sad every time I see an abandoned farm. I realize that young people cannot make a living on a 100 acre farm any more and many of them will not choose that life but it still saddens me that all the work and pride that sustained that farm is no longer there. The government taking over land and doing nothing with it just makes me angry!

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  5. Hi Linda, I’m not sure if you check comments especially on such old posts but I’ve been reading a lot of your posts for a while, I find them super interesting.

    I’m a McRae myself and am also currently a fine arts student doing photography and other works – so I love to visit hidden gems such as this. does the government still own this property or is it still in the ownership of a family member (I recognize some names posted here)?
    Thanks so much 🙂

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