Tag Archives: old homes

More Memories of The Beckwith McTavish House

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More Memories of The Beckwith McTavish House
 

 

Thanks goes to all of you who comment and send me great stories. Keep on sending them. This is from Jennifer Butler.

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Hi Linda:
David Butler and I purchased the McTavish house in 1973 from Don and Dot Miller. David passed away in February 1986, The photo shows his mother, Winifred, when she was visiting from England, with our son Martin. At the time of his death I had Martin 15, Adam 14 and Stephanie 12. I stayed on at the farm till 1993 and then sold it to a Gomez family. They lived there approx. 2 years and then sold it to the current owner and his late wife.
The medallion in the living room shows a beaver and as far as I know it is still there. (Author’s note– the current owner has advised me it is still there!!) The front room, parlour, has hand painted thistles in each of four corners and a plaster medallion in the centre. I held a large plate around the thistles so the ceiling could be painted without destroying the outer lines of the thistles and I hope they too are still there. Also inside the house the ceiling over the stairs had been lowered and the banister rail removed and all boxed in. From a house on Waverley Avenue in Ottawa I was able to purchase a similar railing so we could open the whole thing up again. The upstairs has a beautifully built curved wall which is typical I think in some of the stone homes of this era. I wonder if it was the same builder. We replaced the old wood windows and it seems to me there were 23. When they were measured and delivered they were all identical in size so fit any window in the house!!!
There was a summer kitchen on the back of the house but it wasn’t in good shape and the end was taken off and a large garage door replaced it. We took down the structure and built a new one with a basement. In hindsight I would have left the original structure there and in some fashion rebuilt the end portion which faced south. My husband felt we needed a modern basement. The original log barns unfortunately burned in January 1986 and I had the loafing barn built in the summer of 1986. The Gomez family built a horse ring. I hope this is of interest.
Jennifer Butler

Thank you card

Jennifer!!!!

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Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.

relatedreading

 

History Still Lives on at The McEwen House in Beckwith

The House on a Beckwith Hill–The McTavish House and Ceiling Medallions

The House of Daughters –Stonecroft House

Update on The Manse in Beckwith

The Manse on the 7th Line of Beckwith

Home and Garden Before Home and Garden Magazine

The James Black Homestead

The Mysterious Riddell— H B Montgomery House

The Wall Mysteries of Lake Ave East -Residential Artists

The Manse on the 7th Line of Beckwith

Rescuing the Money Pits —The Other Dunlop Home with the Coffin Door

The Carleton Place House with the Coffin Door

Before and After in Carleton Place –The Doctor is in!

Heh Miss Wilsonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn! Carleton Place Heroe

Was This the Architect of the Findlay Homes on High Street?

The Carleton Place House That Disappeared

The McCarten House of Carleton Place

Old McRostie Had a Farm in Carleton Place

Time Capsule in the ‘Hi Diddle Day’ House?

The Louis on Sarah Street for $43,500 — Before and After– Architecture in Carleton Place

Memories of Mississippi Manor

Day in the Life of a 70’s Pattie Drive Home – The Stay at Home Mom Era

Architecture Stories: The Hotel that Stompin’ Tom Connors Saved

Dim All The Lights — The Troubled Times of the Abner Nichols Home on Bridge Street

The Brick Houses of Carleton Place

So What Happened to The Findlay House Stone?

The Stanzel Homes of Carleton Place

The Appleton Chinchilla House

 

 

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Cisterns I Have Known

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Cisterns I Have Known

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Photo of the once cistern of Springside Hall by Linda Seccaspina-Do You have an Archaeological Find in Your Carleton Place Basement?

Earl Monro from Almonte once said:  “Half a century ago there was no pasteurized or homogenized milk, no waterworks in town, except some private systems operated from their own wells or cisterns, no television, no ploughed road for automobiles, no snow tires, no school buses, no gas or electrically heated homes. However, in the humble opinion of the writer, the majority of the people were happier and more contented than they are now, even with all the comforts and luxuries of this fast moving day and age”.

After the fire in 1995 our whole basement had to be gutted and we noticed that there was a two inch open gap at the ceiling level on the far side of the wall and open space behind it. Ange and his father removed the stone wall, and low and behold there was a small room. The walls were also 3 ft thick and we figure it was once a root cellar. The dead space now joined part of the house as an official room. It became a wine cellar – but it has not been used in a decade. We found out later that it was a former cistern.

 

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Most older homes have them hidden away somewhere- and what they actually were were “subterranean” reservoirs built to store rainwater. Some people had cisterns outside their homes, and then there were those under trap doors. Before the fire there was a trap door in our living room which was right over the cistern- but I had no idea what it was then. After the fire of course the floor was redone– and now I regret I did not tell the restoration company to put another one in.

There are stories that some fathers brought home live fish and dumped them in the cisterns. Those fish grew and multiplied and a cistern full of fish had to be great pride in a small town- “but I am wondering how fresh that water tasted “.( please note that this is just a humorous comment:). Stories were told not to fool around with the trap door and sometimes tragedy happened in cisterns as noted below. There were stories of a local big brother falling in the  cistern and so disliked were they by their younger brothers that  flat irons were put on top of the trap doors to make sure they didn’t come out. I know some should have thought about the fact that it had been a dry summer  that year the brother was locked in there —and there was only 3 feet of water in that thing. Heck would reign once the older brother got out.

Spring used to be a time when you got the ladders up high and cleaned the gutters and then put the ladders down low and cleaned the cisterns. Having the biggest and deepest cistern  in town with barrels full of rainwater from the roof of the house for housework was nothing prestige. It not only provided water with a few strokes of a sink pump, but the water was also very soft for all the housewives needs.

If a cistern was beyond the financial ability of the household, a rain barrel at the eavestrough  of the house was a must. When the rain barrel and the cistern fell out of mode- that was when the soaps and water softeners came into play with the hard water that came from the taps. Some said they missed hearing the water dripping into the cistern after a rainfall and the girls never waited for rain anymore as there was always water in the cistern.

 

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January 2 1880 Almonte Gazette

On Sunday last Miss Sarah Green, daughter of Mr. Samuel Green, of Landsdowne, who lives three miles from the station, was drowned in the cistern in her father’s house. The parents had gone to church and did not return until after the accident occurred.

The only member of the family about the house besides Miss Green was her brother and he was engaged looking after horses for a short time previous. This work he finished at 2 p.m and started for a neighbour’s house, but had to pass his father’s in order to reach it. As he passed be saw his sister standing at an upper window looking out They exchanged words and he went on.

When the parents reached home they found the door of the cistern open and at once shut it. The mother supposing Sarah to be upstairs called her a number of times and receiving no answer, began a search for her. It was not until the house had been thoroughly searched that she thought of the cistern. On looking into it they discovered Sarah lying on her face quite dead. The supposition is that she had let go the rope attached to the pail, with which the water was usually taken up, and in reaching for it- lost her balance and fell in. As there was a braise on her head, there is no doubt but she fell heavily against the bottom of the cistern, which contained only two feet of water, and being rendered insensible by the fall, was unable to help herself and drowned without a motion. Miss Green was an estimable lady twenty-three years of age.

comments

Sandy Iwaniw–
The first house we owned in Carleton Place had a cistern in the basement. I had never seen a cistern in the basement before as the ones we had in south western Ontario were usually outside the basement but very close to the house so they could collect rainwater.
Rose ParsonsWe had one on the farm and used it all of the time. We also had a pump on the wash stand for getting the water from it to the basin for washing. Thanks for the memories!!
Arlee Barr–ours is walled up–we’ve often wondered if there are any bodies in it!
Alice GilchristI grew up in a farmhouse in Dalhousie Twp and our cistern was in the basement and was cement with walls about one foot thick with just enough space for a man to crawl in for cleaning. It was connected to a hand pump in the kitchen so there was “soft” water readily available for washing and cleaning or to put in the reservoir in the wood stove to heat. Our drinking water had to be hand carried from the outside well. The cistern was still in use when the farm was sold in 1976.

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News and now in The Townships Sun

Do You have an Archaeological Find in Your Carleton Place Basement?

Do You have a Hidden Room in Your Home?

“The Tim Horton’s River” Under my House.. Is That the Way To Fraggle Rock?

What’s Changed in Your Home in 40 Years?

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A few months ago Jennifer Fenwick Irwin gave me a copy of an old real estate listing for my home from 1977. After a beloved owner of my home, Mr. Reaburn died, their son Bert put the house up for sale and his wife May lived at Fairmont Nursing Home in Almonte. They did sell the house, but the new owner only managed to hold on to it for a year, and then it fell into the hands of the bank. We bought it in 1981 and I am still here.

The ad said it was a two storey home built for the Morphy’s when the area was known as Morphy’s Falls. They advertised it as a 4 bedroom home with hot water and oil fired heat. They also said there was a fireplace and a music room with quarter cut oak floors. The wide staircase was made from Cypress wood (looks like oak but better they said) and a three -car garage with a stone post in the centre that could be used as a sundial. Taxes were  $1,153.82 and stone walls were supposedly 2 feet thick.

 

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So what is different now?

I had been told it was William Morphy, son of the founder of Morphy’s Falls (Carleton Place) in 1860 who built the house, while this article says another son, Edmond Morphy built it. The only other records I had is that it was bought in 1905 by former Carleton Place mayor Albert E. Cram and then occupied by the Raeburns.  But, now I know the house also was once a residence to the Johnson and Merrick families. I still have not found any records pertaining to those two latter names.

During the fire of 1995 we changed the position of the dining room doorway and the back staircase, but imagine my surprise to find out that somewhere through the years the interior had also been changed and additions built by the Crams. The three car garage advertised was actually an old carriage house and it was torn down in 1985, as it would have fallen down sooner than later.

 

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Most of the main floor woodwork, which I fought to be restored after the fire, is quarter-cut oak, which indicates a turn of the century change from the simple upstairs woodwork. . The Raeburn’s recalled that the front staircase had been changed early on. The elaborate gilted curtain rod that once hung in the dining room from Mrs. Raeburn’s family home, the Finlayson House in Clayton, is no longer there, but there still remains one plain but original rod over the french doors that open to the study.

Two feet thick walls? No, they are actually 3 foot walls as we found out during the fire of 1995. If this house had not been built of stone it would have been razed to the ground after the fire. I don’t know where the music room was- but, I assume it is now what we call the study. As for the fireplaces, there used to be two, but one got converted into gas and the other one actually had a blocked flue when we bought it and we found out the hard way when we tried to light a fire. It now lies dormant.

 

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The four bedrooms in the listing confuses me as there are 3 bedrooms in the main house and there are two smaller rooms in the old ‘servants quarters’. But it was mentioned years ago there were three in the back connected to the back staircase.We know that the newel post and stair rails on the back staircase are from the 1860s, as when we changed the back staircase we reused the original wood. So there will always be a mystery of how many bedrooms were actually in this house. There are now two more bedrooms in the new section that was built in the early 90s.

The listing mentions many built-ins with leaded windows. I can only count three. The built in dining room cupboard which has been moved three times in that room. The upper window insert of the dining room and the door to the now new solarium that the restoration workers put a ladder through after the fire.

They do mention the basement floor which was– simply– Carleton Place’s bedrock in its raw form and–they forget to mention that 4 giant logs held up the floors of this very house. We did renovate the basement, but one of the storage rooms still is ‘founded upon a rock’ as Howard Morton Brown once wrote.

That first Spring our basement was privy to the running waters that have been flowing down from Tom Horton’s at Lambsdown on an annual cycle for hundreds of years. While repairing the basement after the fire we did find the hidden cistern room and I guess they just directed all that fresh flowing basement water running through into that room.

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Should I mention the only existing kitchen (summer kitchens were torn down) was a galley kitchen which was obviously only for the help. If you opened the oven door you had to climb across it to get to the other side and there was no room in there for a fridge so that was down in the basement. Sometimes that fridge was half way under water in the Spring. After we sat one too many times at a tiny table in the galley kitchen to eat, and watched gusts coming in from the windows blowing things around on the table, we built an addition on and a new kitchen was the main focus. No one ever tells you about the joys of an older home do they? I personally have volumes of stories.:)

As for the taxes being about $1100- well, I think we all know the answer to that– and as for the heritage maple trees- I got a work order from the town this year for many to be removed due to their age.

In reality I have yet to find the dumbwaiter, nor any fabulous finds. Some days I don’t like my house as things take turns breaking down and other days I know it is my job to protect the heritage of this home no matter how cold I get in the winters from an out dated broken-down boiler heating system.

So pardon me while I move my laptop upstairs right now as drafty gusts are picking up, but in all honesty I will have my feet firmly planed in my home until I die. After all,  I just don’t understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment.

Enchantment?

Can I get back to you about that on Friday?:)

 

 

Author’s Note– As I read the list of Pallbearers below for George’s funeral I realized I know so much more about these folks today- and for that I am grateful…

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October 13, 1977        REABURN

In hospital at Carleton Place, Ontario on Thursday, October 13, 1977, GEORGE WILLIAMSON REABURN, beloved husband of Lucinda May Finlayson, dear father of Bert, Yellowknife NWT, dear grandfather of Stephen and Sarah, in his 84th year. Rested at the Alan R. Barker Funeral Home, McArthur Avenue, Carleton Place. Service was held in the chapel on Saturday at 3 p.m. Interment Boyd’s United Cemetery.

October 13, 1977        George W. Raeburn

George Williamson Raeburn died at Carleton Place and District Memorial Hospital on October 13, 1977. Mr. Reaburn was born in Dalhousie Mills, Ontario on June 26, 1893. He first worked for the Bank of Ottawa and the Bank of Commerce at Parry Sound, Ontario and later at the Canadian Pacific Railway, Chesterville and Winchester and since 1938 at Carleton Place.

In 1922 he married Lucinda May Finlayson of Almonte and they had one son Bert, presently in Yellowknife, NWT.      Mr. Reaburn was very active in the Chesterville United Church and Zion-Memorial United Church of Carleton Place and was clerk of session for many years. His other interests included the Carleton Place Scout Group Committee and he was a driver for the Cancer Society. He was a member of Chesterville Lodge No. 302 A.F. and A.M. and was Worshipful Master in 1923.

In Carleton Place he was active with St. John Lodge No. 64 and Maple Chapter No. 116 RAM. The service was held from the Barker Funeral Home, Carleton Place with interment in Boyd’s Cemetery. He is survived by his wife, May of Fairview Manor, a son Bert and daughter-in-law Marion of Yellowknife and two grandchildren Stephen and Sarah Leigh, also, of Yellowknife and by a brother-in-law, Edgar Findlayson of Carleton Place.

Pallbearers were Andrew Dickey, Wilf Hogan, H. B. Montgomery, George Nobes, Renhart Springer and Stewart White. Honorary pallbearers were Lloyd Allen, Stewart Cavers, Hub Dopson, Jim Hammond, Mac MacCauley, Frank Moon, Mervyn Morris, Cecil Ruttle, Eric Simpson, Herb Sinclair and Earl Willows.

 

Update on the Time Capsule in Springside Hall

Time Capsule in the ‘Hi Diddle Day’ House?

 

The Morphy Cram House — Springside Hall

The Hi- Diddle-Day House of Carleton Place – Puppets on a String

The Ghost Lovers of Springside Hall – A True Love Story

Do You have an Archaeological Find in Your Carleton Place Basement?

Feeling Groovy by the Lake Ave East Bridge

October 13, 1977 George W. Raeburn of Lake Ave East— Artist and C. P. R. Man

What if You Had a Fire and No One Came?

 

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News

 

 

Just Another Day in Fawlty Towers

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People often doubt the drama that happens at my home, but in reality it is all true, and sometimes, it goes for the gold. The house is very old, and every single day is like a scene from the film The Money Pit. There does not seem to be a day that goes by that something  doesn’t pop, explode or fizzle.

 

It began the day before when I smelled what I thought was a gas leak or a backed up sewer line and local superman plumber Blair White was called in to check it out. After examining everything he opened a door and said,

 

“Linda, what you’ve got here is a dead mouse somewhere under the furnace or in the walls.”

 

The internet told me it would take 10 days for the smell to go away and not any amount of Febreeze would help. My bedroom now smells like a bus station restroom, but-

 

I’ve got a strong nose- I can deal with that.

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It has been way too hot for a  long time, and never in my life have I had ants in my house. Today I woke up to a huge squadron of them making my cookbooks home. Breakfast was spent gritting my teeth watching the little critters slide from one book to the other finally camping out in the Company’s Coming section. Then, we had an Amityville  Horror film version of cluster flies attacking the second floor but–

 

I’ve got Raid I can deal with this.

 

This afternoon one of the raccoons who has made his home in one of my roof peaks was seen drinking and swimming in my fountain like he was at a local spa. He would not even budge when he saw me as– my home is his home- and he does not have to pay taxes, nor does he care.

 

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This has been going on forever- I can wait a few more weeks until the Hanet’s from Perth show up to close up the peak.

 

Tonight Steve phoned me from the kitchen (it’s a big house folks no one hears anything) and says,

 

“There’s a bat in the kitchen!”

 

I told him to shut the doors hoping to trap the little sucker in there. Not likely. Fifteen minutes later the bat makes his way to the second floor interrupting America’s Got Talent. We run downstairs and man ourselves with Squash rackets that were expressly made for killing bats and not to play the sport.

 

We attempt to find him and eventually see him curled up on the floor. Steve hits him and he misses. I scream,”WTH?” (actually you can probably replace the H with another initial). I ask him what his issue is not killing the bat. Seeing he just immigrated here from California he looks at me and says with downcast eyes,

 

“Well, it was my first bat!”

 

The bat by this time has disappeared somewhere in that room and no amount of high powered rays from the trusty flashlight can find it. We shut off the TV knowing there will be no watching “Chopped” for us tonight and go down to the kitchen.

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Sitting around the kitchen island we notice flashlights beaming at us from the other side of the gate and waving hands. Was it a neighbour?  Was it my son Perry, well renowned bat-catcher, coming to save the day? Actually, it was our brave men in blue (OPP) coming to find out if everything was okay. A neighbour had seen the flashlight beams in the TV room and saw the TV shut off off early, called 911, and reported something suspicious going on in our house.

 

So, after having a good laugh and hearing some good bat-catching tips from our friendly OPP we came back in and I told Steve we had to catch the bat in the morning as we have no catch and release program in this house. His response?

 

“Okay, but I need my breakfast first as I can’t catch the bat on an empty stomach- and I definitely need my coffee!”

 

Stay tuned for more episodes- as the fun never stops here.

Neighbour Jennifer Fenwick Irwin– Wasn’t me who called the cops! I met them at your front gate, checking the lock with flashlights! They said good evening to my dog Bindy and I carried on inspecting the fence!

 

 

 

Time Capsule in the ‘Hi Diddle Day’ House?

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Ottawa Journal 1971–Photo from the Wanda Morrison- Joan Kehoe Collection

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I have written many stories about my home the Morphy Cram house, called Springside Hall in Carleton Place on several occasions. Jennifer, from the Carleton Place and Beckwith Museum, has often wondered why there is very little information or photos of the house throughout the years. Imagine my surprise when yesterday going through a scrapbook lent to me by Wanda Morrison that there was an article about Springside Hall in 1971.

To some of you that don’t know, the facade of my home was once the opening background picture to famed puppeteer’s Noreen Young’s  CBC children’s television program called ‘Hi Diddle Day. When we bought the home in 1981 the interior of the house had been stripped right down to the brass push button light switches, but the outside still had the red roof shingles and window shutters which we later changed.

I had been told it was William Morphy, son of the founder of Morphy’s Falls (Carleton Place) in 1860 who built the house, while this article says another son, Edmond Morphy built it. The only other records I had is that it was bought in 1905 by former Carleton Place mayor Albert E. Cram and then occupied by the Raeburns.  But now I know the house also was once a residence to the Johnson and Merrick families.

During the fire of 1995 we changed the position of the dining room doorway and the back staircase, but imagine my surprise to find out that somewhere through the years the interior had also been changed.

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Front Staircase- photo by Linda Seccaspina

Most of the main floor woodwork, which I fought to be restored after the fire, is quarter-cut oak, which indicates a turn of the century change from the simple upstairs woodwork. When interviewed, Mr. and Mrs. Raeburn had lived in the house for 32 out of the total 40 years they lived in my home. They recalled that the front staircase had been changed early on. The elaborate gilted curtain rod that once hung in the dining room from Mrs. Raeburn’s family home, the Finlayson House in Clayton, is no longer there, but there still remains one plain but original rod over the french doors that open to the study.

It mentions the ell (0ver the kitchen wing)  having three bedrooms which were part of the servants quarters, as it connected to the back staircase. But in reality when we moved there there were only two, so where was the third bedroom?  We know that the newel post and stair rails on the back staircase are from the 1860s, as when we changed the back staircase we reused the original wood.

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Photo by Linda Seccaspina-Last year Blair White gave me a folk art oil painting that George Raeburn did of his home The Morphy Cram House/ Hi Diddle Day home. He had given it to Blair a good many years ago. When I die I want it to go back to the White family and have Blair’s son Ben look after it until he can pass it on. I met May Raeburn once and also met her son Burt when she passed on.

 

The property that was once a whole city block is now an acre in total, and the raspberry bushes that grew wild all over at the back of the house made way to a residence in the 60s when the Raeburn’s sold part of their property. The old carriage house mentioned in the article is now gone as it was in very bad shape when we bought it.

I was sad nothing was mentioned of the dumb waiter that is blocked in a wall in the previous galley kitchen that went up the old servants quarters. I really wanted to know more about it, but what I learned next was even better. What was shocking is that Mrs. Raeburn told the newspaper that one of the cornerstones of the house contains artifacts the Morphy’s put there, but no records exist of the original contents. She said she wasn’t inquisitive enough to investigate. I most certainly am.

 

Related reading:

The Morphy Cram House — Springside Hall

The Hi- Diddle-Day House of Carleton Place – Puppets on a String

The Ghost Lovers of Springside Hall – A True Love Story

Do You have an Archaeological Find in Your Carleton Place Basement?

Feeling Groovy by the Lake Ave East Bridge

October 13, 1977 George W. Raeburn of Lake Ave East— Artist and C. P. R. Man

What if You Had a Fire and No One Came?

Houseful of Whimsy 1982 Ottawa Journal

 

What Do You Know About this House?

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mapss1So you know the house-it’s sits back from the road across from Mac’s on Franktown Road. It’s been slated for demolition for the past few years, and now an extension has been made for another year with a final result of rental dwellings.

No, I am not going to tie myself to a tree in protest, but I would like to gather some history on this house to keep for posterity sake and for the Museum files.

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Looking at an old map of Carleton Place today, Jennifer showed me at the museum it was once a farmhouse.

This is what it looked like on the map. It is property 92 and it looks like it had barns at one time also.

 It was said that it was once a white frame house and then bricked over.

Anyone have any information or know any of the history?

Lucie added:

I grew up on Knox St, just behind that house. I remember there used to be a barn on the property up until the mid to late nineties. My mother’s husband painted the interior of that house, and said that it was haunted. I have always been intrigued about it’s story!

 

 

 

This is a blog about the house with photos done by Jenny on Argyle 2011.

From Jenny on Argyle

SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2011

Franktown Road


The big old red brick home up on a hill always caught my eye as I drove along Franktown Road. I don’t know it’s history – it’s been a rental for many years. Last month this big sign was installed in the front yard:MOVE IT! SALVAGE IT! DEMOLISH IT!…as if they are all exciting options.I know who owns the house. I know the plan – a huge number of townhouses squashed onto the lot – I know I can’t move it or salvage it and I know I don’t want it demolished.

It looks very solid. Has two staircases. Original trim, including a gorgeous newel post and a fancy spandrel in the parlour…It has the curved window tops and the carved limestone lintels that Carleton Place is famous for.
The brickwork seems in good shape, and it has it’s old hand pump in the backyard.

Revenge of The Cluster Flies — Amityville Horror in my Home

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Yesterday as I typed, I glanced at the view outside my window only for it to be marred by a cluster of approximately 75 flies congregating on the window like they were giving out free sugar cubes. What the heck was this? My immediate response was wondering if my home had turned into the Amityville Horror  house. I can deal with the frequenting of those ghostly images that rise in the fog of the night– BUT THIS had me angry! For those of you that have never seen the fly scene in the movie Amityville Horror  I will post the video below, but I am not going to watch it.

Google Google Google.

When in times of need Google is my best friend. Not only does Google sometimes tell me that death is on my doorstep, it is like having a brainiac that never leaves your home and you don’t have to feed them. In several online forums they asked whether there was any leftover food around. Heck, I microwave every Lean Cuisine known to mankind, and there is nothing on my counters, so that’s a no. Then the issue of something “dying between your walls” came up and that sent me into a thither. Squirrels? Raccoons? Well my squirrels are well fed by peanuts every day so they are a lively bunch, and the raccoons have gone to a cooler spot in town for the moment.

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People have died here, but it’s never been a crime scene, so that’s out. The little nuisances are called cluster flies and like the other horror film Poltergeist “they really go to the light”. They gather around any sort of bright light much like hippies around a bag of pot at Woodstock. I was told they have a short life span. Right! Google has lied before!

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Well I don’t care how long they live– when they perch on my nose they are outta here. No Raid in the house, so I spray them with Febreeze. Don’t laugh– Febreeze is my answer to everything. Of course it only gasses them up a bit, but no one is falling dead to the floor. But now the perfumed spray has fogged up my windows. It’s much too high for me to clean that mess off!  Oh well, who cleans around here anyways.

So I try and ignore them. Right. As the light outside dims they begin to hang around the wall light. Actually there is no light– just a sea of blackness. Ignore, Ignore, ignore– I stop typing and go watch television. Not even my favourite show Catfish on MTV can keep my mind from buzzing. They have now gone from the light I turned off to another one I turned on.

I go downstairs with the dog who can sense my frustration. I climb up to the top of the kitchen cupboard to get a museum piece that is gathering dust. The flyswatter. Well, once I hit them they seem to bounce up in the air like a bunch of feathers, and no one is dying. The dog is alarmed and doesn’t want to be in the path of the flyswatter and quickly disappears in the darkness of night. That’s right I turned the light off!  I couldn’t stand to see them, so I took the ostrich in the sand approach.

Bedtime comes and the dog and I discuss not leaving the night light on lest we will been covered in flies when we wake up. I awake flie-less but they are now clinging to the window where it all began.

I read that these little suckers play dead and then they “arise” once again. They are supposed to be a dumb lot and will soon disappear. Disappear to where?  It’s 7 am an not one of them is packing a bag. Heather Lalonde mentions the words “Amityville Horror” to me once again on Facebook. Okay I’ll bite–I go to one of the movies forum pages.

“Please explain the significance of the flies in the movie.”
They were an “adaptation” in the screenplay from the original book… the amount or numbers of flies you saw in the movie were far in excess of what we experienced in the house… to say the movie was an exaggeration is being kind.

In the house, when we were there… the flies were almost always present in the second floor rear bedroom… we would kill them all and they would yet return and be there the next day or the next time we were in the room.

They would yet return and be there the next day?

%^&&^&- story over- I am off to buy RAID.

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