Stopping Time


I am feeling a little sad this week.  A beautiful heritage farm-house sheltered behind two gigantic old maple trees is being torn down and dismantled in the name of progress.  This property is just two homes down the road.

I have written about this magical place in my blog before.  http://wp.me/p2jS4I-27  

chris old house

Most mornings Molly and I would pass this beautiful old home on our pre-breakfast  walk.  We would often pause listen to the birds and appreciate the rising sun coming up over the fields.  It was always so peaceful here. I would admire that pretty covered verandah.   The house has sat empty for several years yet it looks like someone might come back at any minute and sit in those inviting porch chairs.   This old home speaks to me.  It has 160 years of memories to share.   Generations of families have been born, married and died in this old house.    It is our heritage.

As far as I can tell from research in local historical documents, this property was originally settled by Isaiah Tubbs.  This family settled here from New York in the early 1800; long before there was an Upper and Lower Canada, long before the arrival of the United Empire Loyalists.    http://isaiahtubbs.com/index.php/about-isaiah-tubbs/   The house appears on the 1878 surveyor’s atlas of Prince Edward County.  Across the street sat a cheese factory.

Until a few years ago this place was an operating dairy farm and gentle Holstein cows grazed upon the field.  It was sold to an Ottawa couple who intend to build a new home and retire here.

Like the mark of the grim reaper, last November the municipality sprayed large orange Xs on the trunks of these two old trees.  Sure enough, a crew of workers returned last week to do the deed.  Armed with an over head crane and chain saws they felled these powerful giants. It took half a day to cut down over a hundred years of growth.  Pragmatism won out.  The old trees might have been brittle.  The arborist would never have to return to prune or maintain.

This week crews have been working to remove the roof and front porch.  The old house is being torn down.    The new owners are not willing to shoulder the responsibility of its stewardship. Perhaps it is too late to go back.  Rot has already set into its beams.  I just wish someone else was noticing and paying homage to  its history and those people who lived here long ago.  We have just lost a sense of continuity with past generations.    002

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About westlakemusings

In 2013 my husband and I retired. We bought an old pre-confederation house out in the country. This blog is about our new world in the country as we explore all of life's possibilities.
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5 Responses to Stopping Time

  1. Donna says:

    What a sad story. I love old homes much like you do and the preservation of our past is so important, but unfortunately not all think the same.

  2. What loss. I feel those trees the most. If they weren’t dead, I don’t understand why someone would take them down. They’re irreplaceable.

  3. I agree with Julia and Donna. A very sad story, especially the trees. What is with some people? Couldn’t they have worked around those trees? In the city of Toronto you couldn’t cut treeslike that down unless diseased.

  4. Jane Bain says:

    First, let me say that my husband and I really wanted to save the house. We are the the couple from Ottawa who bought the farm. Why? Because we loved it. We loved the front porch … even though it was rickety and the pretty “lattice work” was simply cut plywood. The house was in a very bad state of repair. Dry rot everywhere, leaks in the roof, brick walls falling apart. It had not been maintained for years!! Still, we had engineers in to try to determine how to save it. The cost estimates were prohibitive. I’m talking hundreds of thousands of dollars just to keep it together. One would essentially have to replace just about everything. We are not rich. We tried for months to find someone who would want to salvage the brick and the windows but had no luck. We reluctantly came to the conclusion that it really wasn’t feasible to keep the house. We were sad too … just like you all are. Our intention when we bought the farm was to keep the house and the two beautiful trees. Unfortunately, things don’t always go as planned and we have to deal with reality. As for the two giant maples, they were hollow inside and a massive branch broke off and luckily didn’t land on a car or a cyclist or a walker/runner. They would have been killed. The municipality came out to look at the trees and determined they were a danger. It was not us who decided to cut them down, it was the municipality ….. for the safety of the passersby on Route 12. We were sad to see them go but we would have been devastated if they fell or parts of them fell and injured or killed someone.

    My husband and I love the farm and the County. I grew up in Prince Edward Island. I used to go out at 5 am to get the cows from the back fields. It was serene .

    There you have it. I’ve read your comments and felt I had to let you know that we are not mindless, unfeeling people with no sense of history or heritage and we also fell very strongly about the need to remember and respect our past……. those who have come before us.

    sincerely, jane

    • Thank you for contributing. I appreciate you taking the time and adding all of this important background details. I was just sad and never meant to blame the property owners for the loss

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