Thursday, November 1, 2012

Experimental Farm - Charlottetown - Ravenwood

     On the local CBC Radio news they were telling of the demolition of a variety of farm buildings, some as old as 80 years, on the Experimental Farm site here in Charlottetown.  Here's is the CBC news item from their website complete with video.
     Here's the text from the story...

Buildings demlished at experimental farm:  Vacant structures were safety hazard
CBC New - posted: Nov. 1, 2012 8:12 AM AT

     Agriculture Canada is tearing down some old buildings at its experimental farm in Charlottetown this week.
     The buildings are up to 80 years old and haven't been used for years.
     "No one likes to see the eye sore of the old buildings on the property," said Jamie Coffin.
     "We've had a lot of vandalism over the years where basically vacant buildings were broken into. It's really a concern that with the amount of traffic and the people of Charlottetown on the property that come enjoy the property as a whole, that the buildings are really unsafe to be around or to be inside for sure. So they've been locked up for the last four or five years, and we're trying to remove them from property."
     Agriculture Canada plans to take down a total of 10 derelict buildings on the property at a cost of $700,000. While the work is expensive it will mean lower costs for operating the farm in the long term.
     "It's one less thing we don't have to worry about maintaining and investing money in, and that way we free up money to go towards research programs at the centre."
     The land will be converted back into green space.
     The following historic image is from "Friends of the Farm"
Above: Ravenwood on the Left / Mt. Edward Rd. / Ardgowan on the Right

     Below is information from the Historic Places website regarding Ravenwood.


Ravenwood House, also known as Building 5, sits on an extensive lawn, surrounded by trees, at the Experimental Farm in Charlottetown. It is a striking, two-storey, hipped roof structure clad in clapboard. The classically inspired composition features two symmetrical, double-storey bay windows, a classical portico entrance with columns and a centrally placed roof lantern. Classical detailing is also found in the full-height pilasters at the corners and in the wood window treatment. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.


Ravenwood House is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
Historical Value
Ravenwood House is of historical value for its association with nationally significant government figures and with the development of experimental farms in Canada. It is associated with William Johnston, the Attorney General of Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.) from 1813 to his death in 1828, who built the house as his country estate. The house is also associated with J.C. Pope, who resided at the house at the time of Confederation. He served as Premier of the province, was one of the first Members of Parliament from the Island, and was federal Fisheries Minister from 1878 to 1882. The house is also a very good example of the experimental farm developed by the federal government at the turn of the century to improve Canadian agriculture through research. Ravenwood was the central building around which the farm was planned, and has been home to a succession of superintendents, the first being Dr. J. A. Clark, a well-known and respected P.E.I. agriculturalist.
Architectural Value
Ravenwood House is valued for its very good aesthetic and functional design. A successful elaboration of an original Georgian era building with elements of the Classical Revival style, it was originally built with a five bay façade, steep hipped roof and verandah wrapping around three sides. Renovated in 1909 to create a classical revival composition with symmetrical double-storey bay windows and a classical portico, it is a very good example of both early 19th- and early 20th-century classical designs. Demonstrating a very good functional design, its center-hall plan, with its arrangement of parlors, offices, a rear kitchen wing and four bedrooms above, reflects the exterior symmetry. Very good craftsmanship is evidenced in its interior, 19th-century, detailing that includes marble mantelpieces and plaster ceiling rosettes.
Environmental Value
Ravenwood House is compatible with the picturesque character of its park-like setting at the experimental farm. The extensive front lawn has been embellished with trees planted by various governors-general of Canada and by members of the British Royal Family. Located near the entrance to the frequently visited farm, the house is a regional landmark.
Sources: Gordon Fulton, Ravenwood House, Building No. 5, Experimental Farm, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report, 91-071; Ravenwood House (Building No. 5), Experimental Farm, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Heritage Character Statement, 91-071.

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