Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever, and it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything. In every town there seems to be one piece of architecture that is constantly caught in the exquisite scenery of a town or city in photographs. In Carleton Place that would be Hurd’s Hall.
At the other end of the Bell Street block sits the venerable Hurd’s Hall, a relatively large two storey frame building with its upper floor serving as the first public concert and meeting hall of the village other than the churches. The home is located on a piece of land originally obtained by William Morphy who came in 1819 but he never received a deed for the land until way after 1824. Morphy sold a portion of the land to James Rosamond who built the stone home that sits next to Hurd’s Hall. The house was built by the young Dr. William Hurd, son-in-law of James Rosamond. Hurd had his medical offices there and lived in the former Rosamond stone residence.
Located on shoreline land once occupied by First Nations Peoples, this property changed hands several times before Hurd’s Hall was built in the mid-1800s to house the doctor’s practice, with the upstairs rented out for public use. During the 1880’s Hurd’s Hall was known as our local Masonic Lodge and the men would use the existing side staircase to obtain entry to the upper hall which the owner found when she renovated.
The building has been a school, and the upper flat of the building was McKay’s Bakery for many years. It was also a venue for the town council in 1871, and a bunkhouse. Finally in 1902 it was converted from a hall into a family residence. Across the street once stood the Canada Lumber Company, and a large saw mill and buildings existed where the flower beds are now situated.
The house has only had few owners and became a rental at one point. In all my research, the thing people have remembered most about Hurd’s Hall was that in the early 1970’s the front of the house was struck by a car. The present owner bought it in 1994. Photography to me is catching a moment which is passing, but Hurd’s Hall and all its history will hopefully remain forever.