Rescuing the Money Pits —The Dunlop Homes


If you are driving down Townline Road you will notice the unique clapboard home built in 1853 by James Dunlop.  Mr. Dunlop was a carpenter and millwright, and used the dining room of his home as a workshop for building coffins. This unique frame house is the only one of its type in Carleton Place. The historical description is: a clapboard construction with an unusual shed roof and decorative brackets along the frieze on the front and sides. The two story porch is supported by four columns on each level. The front has a 12 paned French window on either side of the central door on both first and second levels. The main door has a four paned transom and rectangular sidelights.


What I didn’t know is that the house next door is also a Dunlop home and is up for auction in September. It shakes me to the ground to see things like this happen. I live in an older home and know the costs are astronomical to keep any home of an older heritage caliber going. I am fortunate my sons also believe in preserving the house or I would be doomed.


Like most older homes both Dunlop homes were built from older technologies and building materials. That is not a bad thing. The custom, hand-crafted qualities of an older home usually mean long-lasting value and a durable structure that one cannot find now-a-days.  There is a reason that older homes are still standing — they were built to last.

Buying this particular home might seem like a romantic proposition to some. Anyone who appreciates a good antique can understand the nostalgic appeal of an ancient home whose walls are filled with history. Older homes have amazing character traits and historical features that most new homes simply do not have.

Both James Dunlop’s sons: James F. Dunlop and his brother Adam were also millwrights and boat builders. Adam was born in the original house next door at 111 Townline. James later worked in the Gillies Boat Works, producing boat engines and marine craft for national distribution. Adam became the leading builder of skiffs and small boats in Carleton Place. He began in the 1870’s in his father’s workshop and later from the white frame house below and workshop he built next door at Townline Road which is up for auction.

Most of today’s builders do not take the time to dove-tail wooden joints, or hand-scrape large wooden ceiling beams like the Dunlops did. Technologically speaking, an older home is usually filled with ancient methods of plumbing, wiring, heating, windows, roofing and insulating properties. This means a lot of costly repairs! Refitting a home with new wiring, windows, and plumbing can cost a fortune. People also don’t realize how inefficient old windows and roofs can be.
One needs to consider these above points while buying older homes. Older homes can offer character and charm that one just don’t get with newer construction. I was told by a mortage broker and a couple of local real estate agents that older homes such as mine and the Dunlop house are considered white elephants on the real estate market. People would rather buy a newer home and not be faced with the constant repair.

Mr. Dunlop occupied the house at 111 Townline with his wife and seven children until his death in 1887. His son James Fitz Charles Dunlop continued to live in the house until 1941. Adam spent his lifetime in that very house up for auction until 1942. I hope who ever buys it knows what he or she is in for. We can’t afford to allow any more older homes in the area to fall into disrepair. Old homes have soul. Their peace and gladness lies in our hands.

Jennifer Fenwick Irwin from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Museum provided a link to the interior of the Dunlop home


Historical information and photos from The Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum and Heritage Carleton Place

Buy Linda Secaspina’s Books— Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac– Tilting the Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place and 4 others on Amazon or Amazon Canada or Wisteria at 62 Bridge Street in Carleton Place

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.

8 responses »

  1. Hi Linda, a friend of mine sent me the link to your post. I live in the neighbourhood and have in the past researched this home and #111 next door. It would be so wonderful if someone who appreciated the history of this town bought this house and took proper care of it.
    Also as an interesting side note, I’ve noticed a home at the corner of James St and Country St in Almonte with almost identical architecture to this one, but the siding and everything was kept true to the original style. You should check it out!


      • You know, I wish it would have been us buying the place! 😦 unfortunately they decided to sell at auction, and we’re not in a position to purchase it that way. In this case it may come down to who has the most $ to offer for the property rather than who might look after it with attention to detail. We can only hope for the best!
        Love your updates and historical tidbits 🙂 Look forward to reading more!


  2. Hi Linda I had the privilege to walk through that house a few months ago with the owner before he passed away he was thinking of selling it.He was a lovely man and that house is stunning one of a kind,I really hope as you do someone who can take care of it purchases it.You are right new homes don’t even come close to the craftsmanship and care put into century homes.


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