Saturday, September 7, 2013

Reg Simpson's Barn, Cavendish

     This old barn was huge - it belonged to Reg Simpson and his family, located in heart of Cavendish on Rte.6 aka Cavendish Rd.  I took these photographs sometime in the early 1990's after Parks Canada took over the property.  The barn was in poor condition and beginning to give way so Parks Canada braced it at key points - note the bracing on the front/south side of the barn.  By the late 1990's it was demolished.
    I was here with a friend the day they held the estate auction a few months after Mr. Simpson's death - his wife had passed away years earlier.  My friend knew the Simpsons well.  It was drizzling light rainy day and all the Simpson's belongings were spread out on the lawn, literally, on tables, old blankets and homemade afghans.  After awhile, my friend said "lets get out of here, I find it too sad and distressing to see their earthly belongings wet and ruined."
Below images and information comes from...
     The main house on the Simpson Farm was built in 1921 by a local farmer, Arthur Simpson (1835-1922), as a farmhouse and tourist home.  The designer is unknown.  During its ownership by the Simpson family, the house was altered by the addition of an enclosed porch to the rear, the installation of electricity and a main-floor bathroom, and the modernization of the kitchen and bathroom.  The house was acquired from the Simpson family by the Province of Prince Edward Island in 1992 and subsequently transferred to the federal government.  since then, the front porch and all the windows have been replaced, the roof has been re-shingled, the interior has been refinished, a floor has been added to the basement, parts of the foundation have been replaced, and new plumbing and an alarm system have been installed.  The house is presently leased to a private individual for uses as an office ( ).  Parks Canada is the custodian.
     The house was used for a time by the Home Children Foundation, however, since they stopped using the old house its' been pretty much abandoned.  I'd say like so many houses that Parks Canada have taken over in the National Park over the years, it will become derelict and demolished.  You use to be able to see the house from Route 6, the main road through Cavendish, however, today the trees have grown up around it - you wouldn't know it was there - it use to be a prominent home in the area.






The Main House of the Simpson Farm is prominently located on a rural landscape in Cavendish. It is a two-and-a-half storey wood frame house clad in clapboard and crowned with a low, hipped roof with centrally placed attic dormers. Designed in the Classical Revival style, the house features a balanced façade with modest, wooden decorative elements, such as the colonnettes of the entrance porch, the framing of the windows, and the stepped clapboarding above the ground-floor bay windows. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.


The Main House is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
Historical Value
The Main House is associated with the early development of the tourist industry in the Cavendish area of Prince Edward Island. Summer visitors began to frequent the area in the early 20th century, attracted, in part, by the popularity of local resident, the novelist Lucy Maud Montgomery. The Main House was the first known residence in the area, deliberately built to accommodate summer visitors as well as the farm family. In addition, the Main House illustrates the continuing viability of the family farm in Prince Edward Island into the 20th century. Known for its association with the prominent Simpson family, well known in Cavendish society, it was the third house built on a property farmed by the Simpsons from 1790 until 1996. It was built by Arthur Simpson (1835-1922), whose ancestor, William, founded Cavendish in 1789, and whose son Jeremiah (1875-1961) was also well known locally.
Architectural Value
The Main House represents an attractive, vernacular interpretation of the Classical Revival style popular throughout urban and rural Canada during the early 20th century. The exterior is quite elaborate for a Prince Edward Island farmhouse, due to its seasonal role as a tourist home. The interior design of the house, and the high quality of materials used in its construction, also reflect this special role. In the context of Prince Edward Island’s rural domestic architecture, the Main House exhibits a high level of craftsmanship and materials.
Environmental Value
The Main House reinforces the rural character of its farm setting. It retains its dominant relationship with the other extant farm buildings, which form an irregularly shaped farmyard to the rear of the house. The Main House is prominently located on the brow of a hill, overlooking a provincial highway and is a familiar building within the area.
Sources: Dana Johnson, The Simpson Farm, Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report, 98-075; Main House, The Simpson Farm, Cavendish, Prince Edward Island, Heritage Character Statement, 98-075.


The following character-defining elements of the Main House should be respected.
Its good aesthetic design, good functional design and very good craftsmanship and materials, for example:
- the Classical Revival design of the house, as evidenced by its solid, rectangular shape, balanced front façade and classical detailing;
- the symmetry of the front façade that is achieved through the central placement of a two-storey front porch, flanked on either side by bays with generously scaled windows, and centrally-placed attic dormers;
- the classical detailing, including colonettes on the front porch, framing around the windows, and the use of stepped clapboarding above the ground-floor windows;
- the formal centre-hall plan with generously scaled entry and main floor rooms, a pass-through cupboard between the dining room and pantry, and wood flooring and trim on the upper level as well as the main level of the house.
The manner in which the Main House reinforces the rural character of its farm setting and is a familiar building in the area, as evidenced by;
- its overall scale, design and materials, which harmonize with the rural surroundings;
- its familiarity within the area, due to its prominent location on the brow of a hill and overlooking a provincial highway.


  1. Seems anything of historical value, whether it's owned by the government or private, seems to be damned in that province. I'm sure Parks Canada wouldn't mind having it fall apart instead of leasing it out for any interested parties.

    Which is too bad, it's a stellar least it was.

  2. Very sad to see this house in this state. Reg and Cora were the kindest people ever and made everyone feel welcome to come in and enjoy their beautiful home,
    which they kept in impeccable shape.