Friday, December 26, 2008

Stone Houses

A few days ago, I made a post about the rarity buildings faced with brick in Annapolis County. I still find this an oddity seeing as we once had so many brickyards in our area. In case some of you missed the comment loft by Anne Crossman, brick was indeed a commonly used material for chimneys and hearths. This lack of brick facing became apparent to me as I traveled through the Eastern Ontario countryside where brick construction is quite abundant in older homes. One of the other historic building materials I have seen during my current travels is stone.

Like brick, I have always admired stone houses. In fact, both my wife and I have always wanted to own a stone house. These buildings, usually gray in colour with a white or off white wooden trim, stand out prominently in the landscape. They have a very solid but comfortable and inviting feeling.

These buildings were built in an interesting manner. Unlike brick and wooden houses where you could order or make enough bricks and lumber, stones were usually taken from fields and pastures during the spring. As anyone who has ever tried to maintain a garden in the Canadian Shield knows, the first crop of the year are stones heaved up by the winter frost. When the family had collected enough stones, and this could be a matter of several years, they would hire a mason to square the stones and build the house.

Interestingly, most of the architectural styles that we see employed in Annapolis County's early wooden buildings are found in stone in Eastern Ontario. In this post I am including a couple of images of a stone Gothic Revival style house located just outside Smiths Falls, Ontario. I am also including an image of a similar wooden house (the yellow house) on St James Street in Annapolis Royal. You will note that there is some difference in the pitch of the central dormers and a bit of difference in the decoration but these are essentially the same style of house. The house that I currently live in, although it has undergone some very unsympathetic additions by previous owners, is also this style of house. Each of these houses would have been built between 1800 and 1850. The final image in this post is of a stone house owned by my aunt and her family which is also located near Smiths Falls, Ontario. This house is an interesting example of a late Georgian symmetry with a very pretty hipped roof.

For those interested in heritage buildings, Annapolis County is a veritable treasure trove. From our early Acadian, Colonial and Georgian houses to examples of Palladian, Regency and Arts and Crafts architecture we have it all. While I live in this abundance of heritage buildings, it is nice to get out to see what other communities have to offer. This allows me to put our architectural heritage into perspective.

All for now,

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