Monday, February 15, 2021

Lot 14 Presbyterian Church, c. 1858. TO BE DEMOLISHED

We were by this big old church yesterday to have a look around outside and take a few photos. Word around is that it will be demolished soon. It's located at 5522 Rte. 12 in Lot 14 / Birch Hill.
The old church sits across the road from the new United Church built after church union in 1925 when the Methodists, Presbyterians and Congregationists join together to create the United Church of Canada. However, as negotiations proceeded back then, 60% of the Presbyterians chose not to join the newly formed United Church and carried on as they always had. Tenders were called for the construction of this church in 1857 and construction began the following year. It measures 46' wide by 56' long; it has a 16' wall plate; the corner boards are built of 14"x 1-3/4" wood plank, nailed with huge hand forged spikes; the beveled siding is 6" with 4-1/4" exposed c/w birch bark air barrier. Here are photos along with a floor plan I drew to illustrate what I've been able to determine.
Below is an excerpt from the history.... Below is an excerpt from Waldron Leard's "Burial Sites of Interesting Peoples on Prince Edward Island"

Monday, April 27, 2020

Two favourite old barn gone

     I was out to the Burlington and Long River area yesterday and sad to see two of my favourite old barns have been destroyed. No doubt from all the wind storms we've had over the past few months. The first one is on the Burlington Road in Long River... 
Above photo taken on May 25, 2007 
The barn was listed on the Provincial Registered Heritage Places of Prince Edward Island... Profitt Barn is valued for its age, construction method and integrity of original architectural elements. The Profitt barn is one of the oldest barns in the community. The Profitt farm was once a 140-acre property held by William J. Profitt as recorded in J. H. Meacham and Co.'s 1880 Illustrated Historical Atlas of the Province of Prince Edward Island. It is believed the property had been owned by a Power family. This barn was built approximately in 1900 with a straight pitched roof and underwent modifications in 1947. Then owner, William Profitt, his son Lloyd Profitt, and local carpenters Ralph Thompson and Ralph Heaney, modified the barn to increase storage capacity. The barn was lifted and turned a quarter turn, extended 18 feet, a new cement and sandstone foundation was constructed and a gambrel roof was added. Standing lumber was purchased at an auction, cut down and taken to the Long River mill to be prepared for use in the new construction. The larger raised gambrel roof provided more storage area for loose hay. This was a typical practice of Prince Edward Island farmers to increase storage capacity of their barns. The ventilator on the top of the roof aided in allowing air to circulate in the hay loft to prevent the hay from overheating. Shortly after 1947, William Profitt purchased the first hay baler in the Long River district. A long sloping field located behind the barn led to water damage to the building which was a factor in repositioning the barn and the addition of the foundation which is six feet taller on the north side of the structure. The foundation was constructed using 900 bags of cement mixed with sand and small sandstone rocks. The extended height of the foundation on the north side of the building deters water damage from spring and snow run off. The barn was an integral component of the mixed farming operation, as it housed cattle, horses, pigs and chickens and was used for the storage of grains and hay. The barn continues to be an important building on the property which also includes a 1926 two-storey foursquare style farmhouse and a small, late 1930s, gambrel-roofed barn used for pigs and chickens and at one time housed foxes. The barn is a well-known landmark in its community and is often photographed by travellers in the area. Source: Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Tourism and Culture, Charlottetown, PE File #:4310-20/P44
and the second old barn is in Long River at the corner of Burlington Rd. (Rte. 234) and the Long River Rd. (Rte. 262).
Above photo taken on May 25, 2007

Monday, April 20, 2020

Poster: Ten Years of Collecting by the P.E.I Heritage Foundation

     We were going through some old papers, boxes, piles, etc. and found this poster from 40 years ago! 

Saturday, April 4, 2020


     I photographed this little Island-ell style farmhouse in the late 1980s. It has some nice details. The little pink house was demolished in the 1990s.
I prepared drawings for this house in the mid 1990's. Here they are below.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Spring Park House, Charlottetown - demolished 1996

     I was sorting through some papers recently and found this article which appeared in The Guardian Weekend newspaper in the spring of 1996, later that year the historic Spring Park House was demolished.

Developers vs. history buffs: City heritage advocates concerned that history Spring Park house could be torn down for apartment units
The Guardian Weekend. Saturday, March 23, 1996
By Ron Ryder
The owners of a history Charlottetown building are considering tearing it down and rebuilding, which has a well-known city heritage advocate in an uproar.
Catherine Hennessey, currently visiting Boston, Mass., was so worried about the fate of the home once called Spring Park that she phoned home to rally people behind the building.
Looking at the grew building that houses 8 and 10 Duvar Court, nobody would guess it was once the manor house of a country estate. Decorated with peeling paint, a sagging extension and garbage in the front yard, the house that gave its name to an entire neighbourhood now looks like a textbook case of renovations gone wrong.
But Spring Park has a history that belies its appearance. In fact, the home is believed to be the birthplace of John Hamilton Gray, a former premier of P.E.I. and one of the Fathers of Confederation.
Hennessey says developers want to tear the home down and erect an eight-unit apartment building in its place. She’s crying foul.
The former city heritage committee chair says the building has been let go and hasn’t attracted public attention because it’s on a side street and hasn’t been designated as a heritage site.
Those factors reduce the ability of history buffs to protect it, she added.
“This building is not listed. That’s the problem.”
According to local developers Hennessey’s panic is premature.
Before the building can be torn down, developers will have to get a permit from Charlottetown City Council. And the city’s planner says it shouldn’t even go to council before May.
The proposed new building is one of two multi-unit residences developers want to build on Duvar Court and on an adjoining lot at 122 Spring Park Road.
Brooke MacMillan, one of three partners behind the proposed development says they haven’t definitely ruled out saving Spring Park.
“We’re going to try to do what’s best for everyone in terms of heritage interests and business interests and hopefully we can find a happy medium,” he says.
He said people who want to preserve the old building ought to provide some incentive.
“If the building costs more to save than it does of us to tear it down and put up another one, then so be it. Unless someone’s going to pay the difference,” MacMillan says.
The project plans are far from finalized, he says.
“It’s a long road ahead of us,” MacMillan says. “There’s no bulldozers going in tomorrow.”
Ed MacDonald, curator of history at the P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation, says Spring Park was originally granted to Robert Gray, John Hamilton Gray’s father, by the lieutenant-governor of P.E.I.
He says the state was part of an area known as the common on the outskirts of the city. It included extensive pasture land, orchards, a brook and gardens that were famous in the city as a place to picnic.
“Local Charlottetonians used to be able to avail themselves of the gardens at Spring Park,” MacDonald says.
He says the plain, sturdy original building has been undermined over the years.
“That has been much added on to over the years, a lot of the renovations haven’t been (architecturally) sympathetic,” MacDonald says.
The building is one of the oldest in Charlottetown and would add to the architectural history of the city, he says.
Christopher Severance, executive director of the P.E.I. Museum and Heritage Foundation says the loss of a historic building means the end of a concrete tie to the past along with part of the city’s character.
“The whole heritage of the Island, once you lose something like that, is poorer as a result,” he says.
Coun. Mitchell Tweel, chair of the city’s arts, heritage and culture committee, says the idea of a new apartment building on Duvar Court came up last year but was put off because area residents didn’t like the idea of a new complex.
He said the new proposal hasn’t even come up for discussion with his committee yet.
“As far as the Heritage Review Board goes, nothing has come forward,” Tweel said.
Tweel added the board is working on proposals for ways to promote heritage preservation in Charlottetown. HE says the city should look at options such as tax breaks to encourage people to maintain important pieces of real estate.
But he says heritage activists seem to be set on blaming developers rather than encouraging them.
“They always been in this confrontational mode,” Tweel said.
Hennessey says the money spent demolishing the old structure and putting up a new one should be put toward refurbishing Spring Park.
“If they could experience the satisfaction of saving an old building they’d see how wonderful it is,” she says. “We’ve been through that building it’s structural fine. It looks like hell.”

Robert Gray, came to Prince Edward Island in 1787 as private secretary to Governor Edmund Fanning. Both men came to British North America as Loyalist refugees in the wake of the American Revolution. Robert Gray married Mary Burns, daughter of George Burns, a prominent merchant and Island landlord. Gray was sent to England for his education, and spent his 20s and 30s in the British military, including service in South Africa and India. He retired with the rank of captain in the 7th Dragoon Guards. While still in the military, he married Susan Bartley Pennefather, step-daughter of J.L. Pennefather, an officer in the 7th Dragoon Guards. Gray named his first child Harriet Worrell Gray, in honour of the sister of Charles Worrell, a resident Island landlord who at one time owned close to 100,000 acres, including some once held by George Burns. The marriage of Gray’s sister, Jane, to Artemas Cambridge further strengthened Gray’s ties with leading entrepreneurs and officials who moved back and forth between Britain and Prince Edward Island. When Gray returned to Prince Edward Island in the 1850s, he was appointed to the Legislative Council, the upper house in the Island Legislature. Gray rejoined the military during the Crimean War, but did not see active service. 

**To see a map of “Spring Park” refer to the Public Archives of PEI
Host Collection
Public Archives and Records Office map collection 
Physical Location
Public Archives and Records Office of Prince Edward Island 
A plan of Spring Park, the property of Robert Gray  
Date (original)
[ca. 1828] 
Creator (original)
A plan of Spring Park, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, the property of Robert Gray. Key shows a breakdown of the condition of the land. Total acreage: 76. Also shows sketch (lithograph) of dwelling house.  


Saturday, March 28, 2020

Bonshaw House, 1840-1945

     In 2002 I drew the plans for "Bonshaw House" built by W.W. Irving. Also is information I compiled about this wonderful house.
     Much of the information below comes from: 
BONSHAW: A Stroll Through Its Past
by William M. Glen and Elizabeth A. Glen, 1993
     The Ground Floor was divided into the formal rooms ( the entrance hall, dining, grand and drawing rooms ) and the support rooms ( the kitchen and storage rooms ).  The floors in the entrance hall, grand, dining and kitchen rooms were hardwood.  The entrance hall had a notable staircase and banister.  Some of the Flooring and banister was utilized in the McLeod House which now stands on the site.
     -Extracts from the Annie Laurie Robertson diary 1888 to 1903, the location of the original now unknown, extracts inthe possession of Ann Coles, Milton, Queens County, PEI, Dec. 1992.
     The Second Floor was  serviced by three staircases; one to each section of the house.  The three sections were not connected.  In March 1900 it was noted that Bonshaw House was empty as "it was hard to get help to keep up a big house".
     -Based on the recollection of Christine McNevin nee McLeod, who lived in the house for 14 years in the 1930s, Argyle Shore, Sept. 1993.
 ...By March 1845, WW had moved to Charlottetown and offered Bonshaw Farm for lease or let.  He described the farm as having a house and offices and was available for immediate possession.  No record of anyone taking up the offer has been found so it is likely the house stood empty, although the land was probably still being farmed.
  In the early part of 1848, WW was having financial difficulties, probably caused by living beyond his means.  In April he gave up the lease of the 2718 acres in Lot 30 he had from David Stewart in lieu of rent arrears to the value of 192 pounds.  He also left the Legislative Council although this may have been due to expiration of his term in office and not a reflection on his financial troubles.  The letter to explain his replacement on the Council noted "he quitted the Island".  As the year progressed, things got much worse, and WW advertised Bonshaw Farm for sale.
Valuable Property for Sale.
     Private offers will be received by the Subscriber (who is about winding up his affairs in the Island,) for the following Property, viz:
     BONSHAW ESTATE. consisting of 315 acres of Freehold Land, beautifully situated on West or Elliot River, of which it commands a view.  It is 12 miles from Charlottetown, bounded on the South by the Tryon Road and on the East by the West River - one of the finest trouting stream; in the Island, from which oysters can also be obtained a few miles lower down.  It is in the immediate vicinity of Saw and Grist Mills.  About 70 acres of the above are under cultivation, and the remainder under a growth of Hardwood, with a sufficiency of Spruce, Fir, and Hemlock, for building and fencing purposes.  The Dwelling House was built about seven years ago, and consists of a Centre, with projecting Wings and Colonade having Drawing and Dining Rooms, two Bed Chambers,  Entrance Hall, 14 feet square; back Hall, (all papered) and Kitchen on the ground floor.  There are two Chambers above , and also Servants rooms.  Frost-proof Cellars under the Centre and South Wing.
The Farm Buildings consist of a Barn 50 feet by 27 feet, and with 20 feet post; and one-half is cellared and walled; - a Stable, with 4 stalls and loose box, Cow House, Poultry House (2 floors) Stone Well- house, with a pump, Pig - , & c.
     The Subscriber also offers for sale about 10,000 Junifer (Halmatak) Sleepers, two-thirds of which are 9, 10 by 5, and the remainder 9, 9 by 4-1/2, at St. Peter's Bay and Naufrage; 500 tons Hemlock Timber, principally 13 inches square, and mostly in lengths of 15 and 27 feet, at Bedeque, Richmond, and Orwell Bays also a quantity of large-sized Birch Timber at Bedeque and Three Rivers.
     Also, a considerable amount of Book, Debts, being advance made on Timber Contracts during the Winter of 1847.
     Every information will be afforded, on application to Wm. Forgan, Esq., Solicitor, Charlottetown, or to W.W. IRVING.
Spring Park, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, August 14, 1848.
from the Royal Gazette 29th Aug 1848, page 4.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

New Glasgow c. 1960s

     We were into Bibles for Mission store the other day and got this great photo. We took it out of the frame and realized it was a calendar photo. Note the stooked grain in the foreground. The olde mill restaurant was beside the church and now across the road where the Olde Glasgow Mill Restaurant is today.

Sunday, January 12, 2020

Webster's Mills of Marie

     I recently got a copy of the community history, Morell: Its History by the Jubilee Senior Citizens Club, 1980. I was interested to read the story about Webster's Mills of Marie - the following informations comes from Pages 46-48, written by Cuyler Dingwell.

     Edward Warrel Webster (b. 1810) was known as Edward the Miller. He married Henrietta Maria Bowley and, as a young man, established mills on the Marie River building a dam for power, possibly about the year 1835. The first lumber mill was powered by an overshot water wheel and used what is known as "up and down saws." The flour mill used stones to grind either barley or wheat into flour.
     The older sons of Edward Webster operated these mills with their father for some years; but on the death of Edward the Miller on Nov. 12, 1891, his son Robert R. Webster (1865-1956) took over their operation. Robert was married to Mary Dingwell (May) who was sister of my father, James E. Dingwell. They were the children of George H. Dingwell (postman), whose wife was Margaret Dingwell. Margaret, the daughter of Charles Dingwell and Mary Dingwell - nee Webster. She was the sister of Edward the Miller.
     After Robert took over the operation of the mills he did extensive renovations. With the lumber mill he put a modern gate type water wheel; also a rotary or circular saw and carriage; as well as adding a shingle mill. In the flour mill, the stones to be recut or sharpened at intervals. The last time this was done was by a man named MacLeod from Strathcona, who was a professional stone cutter. This information was told to me by Mr. Webster himself.
     About the year 1912, Robert bought a roller mill that had been built on the River John in Nova Scotia. he had it dismantled by a man in Nova Scotia, who re-erected it for Robert on the previous site of the flour mill, on the Marie River. Because the mill was new, the 35-horsepower water wheel did not have enough power to operate it successfully. So, R.R. as he was known, purchased a steam engine and boiler and had it installed in a shed on the side of the mill. Since it was fifty horsepower engine, it had plenty of power, but not everyone could fire the boiler properly, with the slabs from the saw mill.  I have been told that a young lad by the name of Douglas Sanderson was the only one who could do this adequately. Doug, as he is called, now lives in Cable Head. The mill operated by steam for a few years; as it became older and worn, needing less power, it was then operated by water power for it's duration.
     As well as milling, Robert Webster made brick. The last kiln of brick was moulded by Alan MacDonald, one of the "strong MacDonalds." The clay for the brick was dug just west of the mills in a field - the hollow can still be seen to this day. I cannot recall the exact number of bricks Mr. Webster told me was in the kiln, but it was up in the thousands. The bricks were baked or burned right on the site, using hardwood for fuel.
     After the war of 1914-1918, Robert's son William (1896-1969), took over the operation of the saw mills. Later, about 1930, when Robert retired from milling and moved to Midgell, Wilbur, who was married to the former Ida Jay took over the operation of the flour mills and operated them until the early 1940's. At this time, because of a failure in the wheat crops and other reasons, the flour mill never started again. Wilbur continued to operate the saw mill on a part-time basis until failing health forced his retirement in the 1960's. Somewhere around 1965, the Dept. of Highways built a new dam up stream from the old dam and put a bypass in for the fish to go from river to dam and vice-versa. About this time Wilbur's son, Garth, operated the saw mill part-time for a few years, using a gasoline engine for power. Today (1980), what was once Webster's Mills, is just a pile of rubble in the stream of Marie River.
     Part of this story are from tales my father remembered as told to me; other parts were told to me by Robert R. Webster, whom always called Uncle Rob since his wife was my Aunt May, a very dear old lady whom I will never forget. Other part are memories of my own.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Former Cutcliffe house demolished

   The former Frank and Winnifred (McDowell) Cutcliffe home at Fredericton corner was demolished on Thanksgiving Monday, Oct. 14, 2019. A young couple had purchased it a few years ago and during Hurricane Dorian it sustained too much damage. 
   The photo below was taken in the summer of 2007.

   When the Cutcliffe house was built it was the largest in the community. Frank Cutcliffe had a store between the house and the Malpeque Road (Rte.2). They were successful merchants. After the Cutcliffe's the store was operated by Martin Jorgensen and at one time the store was an antique shop.
   On Nov. 7, 1935 the Guardian newspaper report, "The members of the Pleasant Valley United Church Women (UCW) held a very successful chicken supper at the spacious home of Mr. & Mrs. Frank Cutcliffe. The ladies served supper to about 170 people. An enjoyable social evening was spent in music and games. A substantial sum was realized for the church. A hearty vote of thanks was tendered to Mr. & Mrs. Cutcliffe for their hospitality."
   In the late 1960s or early 1970s the house was bought by two couples, one by the name of Pryor from Quebec and was turned into an inn. It was famously known as the Seven-Keys Inn. The end of the house facing the road featured seven large wood keys fanned out. The seven rooms for rent were decorated differently in styles from around the world.
    Over the years many different people lived in this house. 

    The following photos were taken in the summer of 2007 when Route-2 Highway in Hunter River was widened. In the photo below the former Cutcliffe house is on the left and across the street, Fredericton Station Rd., was the old Howard Weeks home. Howard was a master carpenter and built many houses in the area in the early 1900s. The Malpeque Rd. (Rte. 2) is at the bottom of the photo. 

   That summer of 2007 many, many buildings in Fredericton along Rte. 2 highway were torn down or moved - it surely changed the look and feel of the community.
   Below the beige house was the first Fredericton School turned into a house where Whitfield and Daisy Abbott lived. To the right was the old Fredericton Hall.
Below was the Church of Christ, also torn down that summer of 2007.
   Below was the last Fredericton School converted to a house. It belonged to the MacKenzie's who moved it to the Smith Road in Pleasant Valley to a vacant lot once owned by Willa Smith.
  Below, way back the driveway was the farm of Miller and Francis (McDowell) Stevenson. The house at the top of the driveway was the former Church of Christ manse where Miller and Francis lived and their son and daughter-in-law lived in the old house. The old house was torn down to make way for a new house and the bungalow was moved to Hazel Grove. 
  Below was the old feed mill originally owned and operated by the Cutcliffe's. In later years it was owned by the MacKenzie's. It too was torn down.