The Carleton Place House with the Coffin Door



 Bell House 1971

A pioneer stone home sits on High Street that dates back to the 1830’s has been home to families whose names are still well known in the Ottawa Valley. The first owner was John Bell (son of Rev. William Bell) who opened a general store in 1829 with his brother Robert.

The stone house was built shortly after the Bell’s arrival by Henry Wilson who was also responsible for homes that were once owned by Howard Dack and Mrs. John A McCarten. In the 1970’s Mrs. Loosemore delighted in the continued restoration of the stone home says her grandfather Tanner Brice McNeely bought it from Sam Price. Brice McNeely operated the tannery which is still standing on Bell Street. As his daughters married, it was his custom to give them a house. This particular house was bequeathed to Jane who had married Stewart B Houston. She lived in it from 1928 until her death in 1942.


It was then rented by the Houston family until 1961 when Mrs. Loosemore and her sister Mrs. James C Gardiner inherited it and began tor restore it. Behind the jagged stone wall lies a door that is unique and is called a *coffin door. The other doors in the home called Cathedral or Bible paneled leading to the main door were too small to manoeuvre large furniture or a coffin. Hence the door with three closed panels at the bottom and three narrow glass inset at the top was called a coffin door.


*Before embalming was commonplace, you did NOT want to tilt a loaded coffin upright. Ever.So coffin doors made it easy to slide those suckers out. Sometimes coffin doors led to a parlor, sometimes (as in this case), they led outside, probably to a wagon for the graveyard. Not infrequently, coffin doors were double, with an exterior door and an interior one that was often used as a carrying platform and also a tabletop “stage” for viewing. Terrible to say, but the installations of these doors were expensive, but sadly, it eventually paid for itself.

In coffin related reading. This is a story by my friend John Manchester whose William Manchester wrote The Death of a President. His father instructed that his children were to build his coffin upon his death. Miss you John and Judy.

Building my Father’s Coffin.



Carleton Place Girl–I grew up right next door and during the late 1940’s and early 1950’s this house was inhabited by Leita Andison and her mother. Mrs Andison died there and her funeral was held in the living room with the casket in front of the lovely stone fireplace.

About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

3 responses »

  1. I grew up right next door and during the late 1940’s and early 1950’s this house was inhabited by Leita Andison and her mother. Mrs Andison died there and her funeral was held in the living room with the casket in front of the lovely stone fireplace.

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