The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
11 Aug 2001, Sat • Page 31
The Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
11 Aug 2001, Sat • Page 31
The boyhood home of an Ottawa Valley hero was up for sale in 2001. Set on a breathtaking piece of farmland, not far from the edge of the Mississippi River, the Georgian-style stone home, where basketball’s inventor James Naismith grew up, has been put on the market by the Almonte family who restored it during the past 12 years.
Owners of the Naismith home are asking $495,000 for the charming piece of sports history. Though the famed occupant’s original game involved nailing’ a couple of peach baskets to either end of a gymnasium, the driveway now features a beat-up basketball hoop, something clearly used by the four boys. Greg and Marianne Smith bought the 150-year old home when their four sons were young, hoping to make a homestead the boys would return to once they were adults.
But priorities have changed since the couple put hours of work into restoring the home. When they bought the 45-acre piece of land, the Smiths were keen to farm and bring their boys up with the farming traditions. They lived the dream, but now the boys are in their teens and their interests have changed. Galen, 17, is getting his pilot’s licence; Jonah, 16, is interested in cooking; and Colin, 14, and Darcy, 12, are getting into kayaking.
“We had horses and chickens and lambs, but we’ve evolved out ,” Mr. Smith said. Earlier on, the Smiths had subdivided their land so they could build a new home at the back of the property overlooking the Mississippi, an area Mrs. Smith and the family’s German Shepherd, Harley, walk every day. The new house will be bigger, with a solarium, hot tub, and screened sun porch. The design will maximize the picturesque view of the lazy, winding river. “If we could have taken this house and put it on a smaller lot on the river, we would have. We’ll really miss this house because it’s so full of character and all our memories,” says Mr. Smith. “Our youngest boy was born here. The oldest was four when we came.”
Outside the home, on County Road 29, a passersby can read a plaque detailing the connection to James Naismith. The local hero was born in November 1861, in a home on the same property, all of which was owned by his extended family. Unseen James Naismith Photos and his Real Birthplace
When he was nine years old, his father got work at Grand Calumet and the family moved. But typhoid fever felled both parents, leaving nine-year-old James, his sister and brother orphans. The young trio returned to the stone home and were brought up by their uncle. Today there are memories of James Naismith in the restored rooms. The Smiths were diligent in the restoration, repairing stone work, refinishing floors, re-installing the trademark wrap-around veranda’ and reshingling the roof with cedar.
The family also added a delightful sunroom, complete with a full wall of windows. This attractive room houses a computer, an upright piano and terracotta tiles that give this Ottawa Valley home a sunny southern feel.
Some of the work was done on the advice of the Ontario Heritage Foundation, which gave the family a $87,000 grant over three years to complete the $130,000 restoration. Inside, they returned the kitchen to its original location, adjacent to the old fireplace, which, needless to say, they no longer use for cooking.
The kitchen, with a long dining table, boasts deep inset windows set into thick exterior walls. The door at the formal entrance to the home, is surrounded by windows, but it’s the fanciful carved-wood veranda that defines the character of this stone house. The Smiths got most of their clues for the facade’s restoration from a 1890s photograph given to them by their neighbours and previous owners of the home, the Graces.
“When we bought the house, there was no trace of this veranda and the shutters were all gone,” said Mr. Smith. “But this photo really helped. We knew the kind of wood and exactly what it looked like, how it had a curved roof and came in just under this window. We found the corner posts and so we knew the exact dimensions. This photo gave us everything we needed to put it back the way it was 100 years ago.”
Thick-slabbed pine floors fill the inside hallway from the front door. To the left is Mr. Smith’s home office, where he works as a communications consultant. To the right is a double parlour, which the busy family uses as a living room and dining room. Upstairs, rather than refinishing the floors, the Smiths carpeted. The four bedrooms are basic rooms, with sloped ceilings.
The front gable and window would have housed a sewing room, Mr. Smith speculated, but has since been turned into a full bath. The fifth bedroom, which could be used as a family room, is on the main floor, just behind the kitchen. The home has changed hands a number of times over its long history. The Grace family, from whom the Smiths bought it in 1988, owned it for more than 60 years. “We’ve heard that it had been used as a grain storage house and that the farmers used it as a headquarters when they were building the highway,” Mr. Smith said. “It had deteriorated a bit- but no longer.”
The actual old family house and birthplace of Dr. James Naismith.
A photograph of Annie Naismith, sister of Dr. James Naismith, outside the old family house and birthplace of Dr. James Naismith. This week after doing some research I stumbled upon these photos by accident. I put up a few of these photos on Facebook and history was suddenly not what it seemed. We have always assumed Dr. James Naismith, the inventor of basketball was born in the stone home on Highway 29, just outside of Almonte and just past the Mill of Kintail exit. So I found out the rest of the story from local historian Rose Mary Sarsfield who got the information from another iconic local historian Marilyn Snedden.
A photograph of Annie Naismith, the sister of Dr. James Naismith, outside the old family house and birthplace of James Naismith.
Clayton Historian Rose Mary Sarsfield-— Here is the real story according to Marilyn Snedden who has done years of research in this area. The house pictured above where James Naismith first lived as a child, “was where Kay Grace and now Dianna Nanne live-the bungalow to the north of the Naismith House. There was a Peter Naismith in the Cheryl Patterson house early on and James’ father John worked there before he went to Fort Coulonge. I think Peter was an uncle of John but the family of course had all the same names.” The family moved to Fort Coulonge where James’ father started a sawmill but the mill burned down and then the father got typhoid fever and died.
House on Highway 29 that was once was once the childhood home of Dr. James Naismith, the creator of basketball, but he was never born there– now Evermore Wedding Events– and there is a heritage plaque in the front of it.
The mother wrote to her mother Janet Young (who lived in the house that we now know as the Naismith house on Highway 29) to send someone for her children. Her single brother Peter went and got the children. The mother also died and soon after the Young grandparents also died so the single brother Peter Young was left to raise the three Naismith children.
These photographs were part of a group of 6 photographs donated by Jim Naismith, the grandson of Dr. Naismith, and originally scanned and sent to him by Marilyn Snedden who lives near Bennies Corners near Almonte, Ontario.
Peter J. Young and Annie Naismith outside their house in Almonte, Ontario
A photograph of Peter J. Young, Dr. James Naismith’s uncle, and Annie Naismith, Naismith’s sister, standing outside a door to their house in Almonte Ontario.
According to Steve Maynard this home is at 81 Union Street in Almonte
According to the file name of this digital photograph, this is photograph of family portraits of John Naismith’s Family. The John referred to could by the father of Dr. James Naismith, but this was not identified. Naismith also had a son, John Edwin Naismith. The portraits were not identified either. There are four photographs shown, sitting on top of a piece of furniture. This photograph was part of a group of 6 photographs donated by Jim Naismith, the grandson of Dr. Naismith, and originally scanned and sent to him by Marilyn Snedden who lives near Bennies Corners near Almonte, Ontario.
The top photograph shows Dr. James Naismith and family sitting on a porch of a cabin. The photograph has information written on the side and on the actual photograph. At the bottom of the photograph is written “Uncle Jim, Mama ‘M….’ Jim ‘Papa Jimmy” a t Redfeather – 1922 (?)” . The exact date and the name of “Mama….” are hard to make out. According to this information Dr. Naismith is seated on the right, holding his standing grandson Jim, Mama (perhaps Maude Naismith) is seated in a rocking chair in the middle of the porch, and Naismith’s son, Jim is seated on the left. He is wearing a hat. The photograph is fro Red Feather, Colorado. These three photographs were sent to and donated to the Springfield College Archives and Special Collections by Lauren and Rachael Naismith, the daughters of Naismith’s grandson, Jim, shown in this picture. It is believed that one of them wrote the notes on the sides of the photographs.
Copies of three photographs of Dr. James Naismith, the inventor of Basketball, and his family. These include two photos taken in Lawrence Kansas on the campus of Kansas University. One of these shows two students doing a balancing routine with one student laying on his back in the grass with his knees bent and the other in a handstand being supported by the lower man’s outstretched arms and with his own hands on the students knees. Naismith is standing beside them, leaning back and pointing at the student doing the handstand. Buildings on the campus are seen behind them. The other photo is of Naismith and two students holding aloft lacrosse sticks while leaping in the air. The sticks meet above them. Again, buildings on the campus of Kansas State University can be seen behind them.
According to the file name of this digital photograph, this is photograph of family portraits of John Naismith’s Family. The John referred to could by the father of Dr. James Naismith, but this was not identified. Naismith also had a son, John Edwin Naismith. The portraits were not identified either. There are four photographs shown, sitting on top of a piece of furniture. This photograph was part of a group of 6 photographs donated by Jim Naismith, the grandson of Dr. Naismith, and originally scanned and sent to him by Marilyn Snedden who lives near Bennies Corners near Almonte, Ontario
This is a card that states that Dr. James Naismith received an honorary degree in 1910 from the official records at Springfield College (then the International YMCA Training School). At the top of this card, handwritten, it states, he received a “M.P.E. degree” which stands for a Masters of Physical Education.
A picture of Dr. James Naismith with fellow alumni in front of Alumni Hall on the Springfield College Campus. Among those in this picture is Thomas D. Patton, who was a student in the secretarial class that first played basketball.
This document contains three hand-written pages and two typed pages. The typed pages are titled, “Biographical encyclopaedia,” and they describe the following aspects of James Naismith’s life: education, career, membership in societies, social and honor fraternities, military activities, civic societies, genealogy, honors, and athletics. The typed pages appear to be a more organized version of the first three hand-written pages. Who created this biographical information is not known.
Article titled “Dr. J. A. Naismith succumbs at 78,” subtitled “Heart disease claims inventor of Basketball; once studied ministry,” published November 28, 1939 by Buffalo Eve News. Has headings in the body as “Combined other games” and “Was native Canadian.” Frank Mahan suggested that the game be called Naismith Ball, but Naismith objected.
Photo by Linda Seccaspina 2015
It was a Winnie the Pooh sort of day in April of 2015. Chilly, blustery, and two women huddled near the statue of James Naismith in Almonte. Why would anyone have their coat off on a day like that? One girl was graduating and posing with Mr. Naismith and the other, her friend, was taking pictures for her graduation photos. A slam dunk of an idea!
Now it’s 125 years!!!
Photo by Linda Seccaspina Puppetsup! 2011
Photo by Linda Seccaspina Puppetsup! 2011
Did you know these Boxtop Facts about James Naismith? Tomorrow, why don’t you share one with a friend. I dare you!
James Naismith was born on the outskirts of Almonte, Ontario in November of 1861. He invented basketball inspired by his beloved childhood game, “Duck on a Rock.”
As with most Scottish settlers in this area, his parents immigrated to Lanark County in 1852. His parents got sick with Typhoid fever and died when he was barely nine years old.
He was sent to live with a very strict religious grandmother, and his Uncle Peter.
That very rock that he played with as a child was the same one that led him to invent the game of basketball in 14 days. It was a solution he created to deal with a rowdy class in Springfield , Ma. Where can you see that rock?
Visit the Mill of Kintail near Dr. Naismith’s birth place. They have conceived a small, but personable display in his honour in the basement of the mill.
James enrolled at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec. After graduation he became a physical education instructor there, and invented the football helmet.
He used peach baskets at first! In case you missed one of these Heritage Moments as a child– let’s review the facts once again:)
Famed puppeteer Noreen Young made this wonderful puppet of James Naismith.
Life is the most exciting opportunity we have. But we have one shot. You graduate from college once, and that’s it. You’re going out of that nest. And you have to find that courage that’s deep, deep, deep in there. Every step of the way.
It was a Winnie the Pooh sort of day. Chilly, blustery, and two women huddled near the statue of James Naismith in Almonte. Why would anyone have their coat off on a day like that? One girl was graduating and posing with Mr. Naismith and the other, her friend, was taking pictures for her graduation photos. A slam dunk of an idea!