Chances are you have driven by this stately red brick home on the corner of Townline and Bridge Street many times. Like me you wonder what lies beyond those two plaster lions that seem to guard the front door. Of course, this is added to the fact that not a lot is known about the stately red brick house that has stood firm for decades in the town of Carleton Place. Thanks to Sherri Iona (Lashley) we now have some tidbits about the house and she also provided more information on her iconic “Poppa”- H B Montgomery who once owned the property.
Those who own who a big home will understand how H B Burnett felt when he sold his home. I know how you can get lost in a home like that especially if you are alone. Sometimes it can overpower you, yet you don’t want to leave it.
H B’s first wife, Sherri’s “Nana” Laura (Bradley) Montgomery was once a teacher in a one room school in Munster. They met when H B was working in the quarry – where Dogwood Drive now is. He was a couple years younger than Laura and they had a grand life until Laura who was very active with the United Church died from a long battle with breast cancer in the 1974 at age of 79.
When H B ended up selling the house a year after Laura, his first wife died he lived alone for a few years and even built a double on Bridge Street close to Townline where Debbie or Christine Olthius Lashley lived. Debbie still lives there. Burnett lived on the other half and married Helen while he was there. H B was married to Helen Argue for 5 years.
Photo from Sherri Iona
The house was originally built by Carleton Place retailer Norman Riddell who lived there with his family until his death. The grand house with the once beautiful gardens was then sold at auction and then flipped to Mr. Collie who in turn sold it to H B Montgomery. After the auction was over it still contained some of the Riddell family’s furniture like the Victorian settee in blue brocade which continued to sit in its original place in the living room.
Photo from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum
The Riddell family’s dining room set remained in the spacious dining room like time had not passed from when they initially moved in. It had always been noted that the table was specially designed for the Riddell home and H B always fondly remembers it when his wife served dinner for 30 guests. The table actually sat 20, although when the grandkids were smaller they squeezed in one or two more. As Sherri said, you just never sat 13.
Photo from Sherri Iona- Ottawa Journal
If you sat at the dining room table you would notice there were other Riddell heirlooms such a sideboard and a china cabinet both made out of solid mahogany. Other notable features of the home was the solid paneling banister and archway which accented the front hall living room and den. H B told stories about Mr. Pattie who used to own a dry goods store in town. Pattie told him about his father who worked for a solid year carving the arches and moldings by hand. The bookshelves in the house were also created by his father.
Photo from Sherri Iona- Ottawa Journal
The house that was built of three-ply brick, trimmed with red pine and three red brick fireplaces all in working order held many memories for Sherri. Note the sofa and chair, the horse statue, the painting in the den which she still owns along with the hall table and mirror. She also inherited the coffee table. All these were antiques that H B either bought from Riddles or through his auctioneer business. Sherri’s cousin has the settee and she and 3 siblings have each a matching chair. The piano and the dining room set were sold with the house when H B died.
Sherri always found it fascinating as a teenager that the third floor plaster-walled room/attic was once used as a ballroom. She always thought it would be a great place to have a dance. Not content with one attic the Riddell’s built another attic on top of the third floor.
No one really knows what it cost to build home like this back then, but H B was always quoted as saying you once could get a wagon full of red pine for as little as 5 bucks. The Riddell/ Montgomery house has 13 rooms which 5 of them are bedrooms and the rooms are mostly on the first and second floors. The most expensive hobby a rich man could have is a boat, and the second most expensive hobby he could have is a very old house. Thankfully this house has been kept up, but the memories still remain for Sherri and her family, because they follow us, like shadows, until we come upon them again.
Author’s note: Read about something you probably never knew in the next few days about this house thanks to Wendy LeBlanc that told me the story today.
Sherri Iona- My Nana had incredible flower gardens at the side of the walkway from Townline up to verandah at the back of the house.
She had a huge vegetable garden, and all summer we would have fresh leaf lettuce and cucumbers. We would eat in the summer kitchen at the back facing the garden.
There was a two bar metal fence around the property. My favourite thing was to pretend I was a gymnast and do somersaults.
We spent all our Christmases there until Poppa sold the house. We bee bumped down the stairs in our pjs. Poppa had a office in the addition at the back. There was a stuffed Snowy owl on the file cabinet.
In the basement, which had a dirt floor, there was a huge root cellar.
Under the main staircase was a little room which was like a phone booth, where the phone was.
Nana loved to feed the squirrels. They would come right into the kitchen and up onto the counter.
Lila Leach-James- Burnett Montgomery….Think he was an auctioneer with Howard McNeely……I recognized the house immediately….I always admired the way it sat on the lot, so magnificent….Believe he was related to the Lashley’s as I remember David Lashley having the nickname Burnett ( I believe his grandfather)…
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