Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Monday, February 13, 2017

Nothing Suspicious Here

Stauffer Library, Queen's University
 I have always wondered about the three red brick houses along John A. Macdonald Boulevard at Union Street, in Kingston. But never enough to get out of the car to take a photo, which is why you will have to resort, like me, to Streetview if you are to have a look. You may have noticed them too.
and a jay-walk away

And, like me, you may recall thinking there's something just not quite right about them. I've always assumed that they'd been a bit aggressively modernized, with verandahs and trim, chimney, trees, fences and landscaping absent. They always looked like they were planted, rather than built. Not lived in.

Turns out, these Victorian houses are not a home.

Should you (or I, for that matter) turn left on Union Street, then left again, you will be in a position to enter Correctional Services of Canada. Well you/we would, were the grounds open to the public. There sit the three red brick houses, at the end of a long driveway, in a parklike setting.

a campus survivor
I don't know what they're doing down there, but here's the story of how they got there. Just the other day, an outstanding photo popped up on Facebook redirected from the excellent Kingston blog The Kingstonist. The photo accompanied this story, which explained that the three houses were the lucky ones in a block of c19 houses demolished by Queen's University, in preparation for the construction of the Stauffer Library.

I've contacted The Kingstonist folks to see if they might give me permission to show you the photo. Until then, word pictures will have to suffice.

old new Lake Street house
viewed from old train station, Picton
Imagine if you will, crowds lining Sir John A Blvd. Three gigantic flatbed trucks trundling along, three red brick 2 and a half storey houses perched ignominiously atop them. "The route was circuitous in order to avoid as many trees, power lines and narrow streets as possible....The move took 16 hours over two days." (Kingstonist)

The heroes of the day were the building movers. I can't confirm that the firm was CDS Building Movers, but their name comes up in connection with some pretty high profile moves. Their picture doesn't show in the CDS gallery. The site details the relocation of the Lansdowne Park Horticultural Building, in Ottawa, for example. Front Page Media group will show you around.

I've often wondered about the house move in Picton, a refined early brick house relocated for the new LCBO, who wanted that spot. One of these days I'll grab a photo of 4 Lake Street (and some nosh at the Agrarian Market which now dwells there.) And another day, I intend to get an interview with a house mover, to learn how they do this thing.

1 comment:

  1. And what a pity that the Stauffer Library is so ungainly and clumsy a presence on the campus. If only they'd consulted me...