The McCarten House on Bridge Street now owned by Barbara Couch–Google Image
If you read my story about The Witch of Plum Hollow you know that one of the most unusual homes in Carleton Place sits on Bridge Street near the corner of William Street and faces High Street. The Chinese Ginkgo tree still sits in the front yard on the right but the home built in the 1830s is a strange mixture of French and Scottish architecture.
The deed of the property first went to William Morphy and then to Robert Bell who began the general store on the north shore of the Mississippi River. The property remained in the Bell family until 1870 when Mary Bell sold it to William Pattie. Pattie in grand fashion way before his time flipped the house a year later to A. S. Newman. What is strange is that on an old Wallings map from 1863 the house is marked as belonging to James Bell.
A succession of owners are registered from 1884-1919 until the Bank of Commerce bought it. A host of Bank of Commerce managers resided in that house until George Buchanan formerly of Maberly, Ontario bought it. Buchanan was in the insurance business and his daughter Mrs. Vernon McCarten eventually owned the property. Not only was Buchanan somewhat of a historical man recording events and items, but so was she.
McCarten House 1960s
Mrs. McCarten said the house originally had three stories and similar to the Cameron Ellis building a fire destroyed the upper floor and the mansard roof is probably not the first one. She also thought the doors on either side of the porch led onto a verandah across the front of the house.
Now each time I look at that house I remember that Mrs. McCarten was the great granddaughter of Mother Barnes- the Witch of Plum Hollow. What history we have in our town.
Did you know there once a truck accident at the McCarten house? Before the bridge over the Mississippi river was built on Highway 7 that lessened traffic through the centre of town a truck ran into the Ginkgo tree in front of the McCarten house. That tree saved the house.
Did you know that a Gingko or a Maiden Hair Tree also grew on the lawn of J. R.McDiarmid on Bridge Street. This was a very rare tree in Eastern Ontario.