Sunday, September 15, 2013

Doors Open Ontario 2013 - Sept. 28th from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm



September 28th is your opportunity to see the DV in person. 

We are very proud that The Dusty Victorian is currently being considered for heritage designation, insuring that her unique and original details will be protected for future generations to enjoy. 

When one applies for an heritage designation, the property undergoes extensive research to evaluate its cultural and architectural value. Here is just a small portion of information associated with The DV's past and her previous inhabitants. 

Statement of Cultural Heritage Value: 

The house at 137 Water Street North (East Side Water Street North, Lot 12) is a two-storey white brick villa, built in 1889 for John Bartlett, a local businessman. Beautifully situated on a hillside in the north ward with principal windows facing west and south, it has a grand view down Water Street and across the Thames River valley. A veranda enclosing the main entrance and wrapping around the west and south sides and a large, two-storey, west-facing bay with an impressive gable are attractive and immediately noticeable features of the façade.

Below is the earliest known photographof the DV.
 circa 1905
This house is an excellent example of a number of St. Marys residences constructed for prosperous clients in the final years of the 19th century in a style perfected by local architect William Williams. Although the house bears many similarities to other structures with documented evidence that they were designed by Williams, there is no proof that he was directly responsible for this Water Street house. At the very least, its builder used many of Williams’ features as a model. These include the gable with bargeboard, the double brackets descending to the chi-cross at bottom, and the double windows on both levels of the bay, the two halves separated by elongated brackets. 

Mr. and Mrs, John Bartlett
The house was built in 1889 for John Bartlett, a prosperous local merchant who, as he neared retirement from his bakery/grocery business, invested in a block of property on Water Street North, including Lot 12. He lived only briefly at this address, using it primarily for rental income. 

Undated - View of Water Street North from across the River Thames
Undated - Closer view of Water Street North and perhaps a decade later by the trees now hiding half of the house.
Perhaps his best known tenant ca. 1900 was James Maxwell, one of the partners in D. Maxwell & Sons, major manufacturers of farm implements and many smaller household items. 
James Maxwell
Circa 1940 - I always thought that the second story balcony was original to the  house, but it was almost certainly added on by the Harstone family. 
In 1915, the property was purchased by Leonard and Beatrice Harstone. Leonard was an established lawyer and also town clerk. He died in 1932 but his son Robert, also a lawyer, lived there with his mother until her death in 1957. 

Beatrice Harstone, wife of lawyer Leonard Harstone.
Believed to be Robert Harstone, aged three, son of Leonard and Beatrice.
Image from Olive Tree Genealogy blog
Robert Harstone, mayor of St. Marys in 1933-1934, died in 1974. Subsequent owners have maintained or restored many original features.

As it appeared in april of 1996, without the second story balcony.
As it appeared in april of 2008 when we purchased the DV.
This is the latest shot of the DV, August 2013. A work in progress.
Thank you to the St Marys Museum and the St Marys Heritage Committee for the use of the historical photographs and extensive research done on our home.

Ken Telfer, Trisha McKibbin, Larry Pfaff and moi
Mary Smith and Brian discussing historial affairs in the library
The DV's heritage designation has to be approved by The Committee of the Whole and Town Council. Come back to the blog for further developments.
But come by on September 28th. We're looking forward to seeing you. 
Click on this link to know more about St Marys' Doors Open 2013

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Fallen Tree Removal - Dutch Elm Disease

Here we are, a week and a half later. After locating the manager of the school property, things happened fairly quickly. One of the owners came to assess the situation and we had a good opportunity to meet our "neighbour".We were left with an excellent first impression and were very pleased to hear about progressive and visionary plans for the old Arthur Meighen school.
To clean up this sad mess, they chose to hire Joel Hackett of Joel's Tree Service, a local St Marys company.


 Joel took the time to assess the situation and precaution was taken in tying the limb that was threatening to fall on the shed before using the chainsaw on the lower branches.

Caution and safety was a priority through out.

 The old 'right of way' was used to park the truck and wood chipper.

 Dutch elm disease seems to have been the cause. Elms have become an endangered tree species because of the nasty elm bark beetle.


 We had our own tree to deal with as well - a dying spruce close to the house. It never recovered from being smothered by an invasive vine. Being flanked by bigger trees did not help either. It's safer and less costly to bring down a tree that is still alive, even barely, than a dead tree.
Joel took care of bringing it down as well.

It's the sad part of managing a property. But if one comes down another will be planted in the near future. Maybe not in the same location or the same species, but there will be a replacement.


This shot was taken through the screened kitchen door. I think the effect is pretty cool.

The branches were cut as he was going up then the tip was cut off.

Sections of the trunk were cut down on his way down.

 His two assistants were in sync, cleaning up and disposing of branches as they were falling.

Everything was hauled away...

the yard was raked clean...

 a power blower was used on the pad for the remaining bits...

and the yard was left cleaner than it ever was.

'Effective, Safe and Affordable' is Joel's company motto, but I would add, 'professional, conscientious and courteous'. Being surrounded by century old trees, we are very happy to know and trust Joel, should we need him again.

Thank you Joel Hackett (and team) for an excellent job.
joeltreeservice@gmail.com
(519) 272-5742