Monday, August 30, 2010

Sinclair Inn Museum Window Restoration - Part 4

Now that a few of our summer events have been moved into the past tense, I am going to share some additional images of our 300 year old window from the Sinclair Inn Museum. When I last showed images of this window it had been removed from the museum and the panes had been taken out of the frame. Despite the fact that it was offering up much of its history, in all honesty, it was physically a rather sad looking piece. Over the past month our window restoration expert, Dr. Chris Cooper of Edifice Old Home Magazine, has been busy with this restoration project. It was actually very interesting to see the reverence and care that Chris afforded this window. It quickly became obvious that this was not a standard restoration but an effort to preserve an important Canadian artifact.

This collection of images was taken in early August. At that point, the window had been deglazed, stripped, soaked in linseed oil to revive the wood fibers and conservation grade epoxy was put in place to restore any areas of loss. In at least one case, a piece of 300 year old wood was used to replace parts of the original window which were beyond repair. Having seen the damaged state of the window when it came out of the house, this was a miraculous transformation. I will post some images of the fully restored and painted sashes in the coming days.

All for now,

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Scenes from a House Tour

Some of Annapolis Royal's finest houses were on public display Saturday afternoon. In fact, five private homes, one inn, three museums and the Historic Gardens were on display for the 5 Century House Tour. I am very happy to report that the event was a resounding success. While most of the participants were from Nova Scotia, at the O'Dell House Museum I welcomed people from across Canada, the Unites States and various parts of Europe. Sadly, the photographs in this post do not show many of the houses which were included on the tour. Since the O'Dell House Museum was so busy, I had trouble sneaking away to see the other buildings.

I would like to personally thank the home owners, the organizing committee and the many volunteers who made this event possible. Without this support the 5 Century house tour would not have been possible. Once again,the generosity of our local residents is the reason that events are successful.

All for now,

Friday, August 27, 2010

5 Century House Tour - The Pickels-How House

I have said before that Annapolis Royal has more than its fair share of beautiful buildings. Without hesitation I would include the Pickels-How House on this list. This Arts and Crafts Style gem is an excellent example of the quality of houses which were being built in Annapolis Royal in the early 1920s. Ironically for a town which traces its origins to 1605, many of the current buildings in Annapolis Royal were built in the 1920s. Not only was this a era when residential properties were developed along School Street, but, in the wake of the devastating fires of 1920 and 1921, there was a total redevelopment of the town's business district.

The Pickels-How House was built about 1920 by Edward Collins for Frank and Lena Pickels. Frank was a prosperous shipbuilder who had spent many winters vacationing in Florida. In addition to a suntan, the family brought back plans to build a bungalow in the Arts and Crafts Style they had come to admire. This building must have caused quite a stir among the Annapolis Royal townsfolk when it was being built. The hallmarks of this house are obviously the off-center turret and the porch which wraps around one side of the house. The turret manages to draw the eye upward on a property which generally presents itself horizontally.

The house was purchased by John B. How as a retirement residence for his siblings Kathleen, Tom and Mary. It was subsequently owned by members of the How family until it was purchased by its current owners in 2006. Today, the house is an ideal backdrop for the current owners collections of Arts and Crafts furniture, pottery and assorted artifacts.

If you are interested in visiting the Pickels-How House tomorrow (Saturday, August 28) is your lucky day. This house is one of the sites on the 5 Century House Tour. At this juncture it is too late to recommend purchasing tickets online, but tickets will be available at the Historic Gardens and the O'Dell House Museum.

All for now,

Monday, August 23, 2010

Five Century House Tour - Runciman House

The Runciman House on upper Saint George Street in Annapolis Royal has often been called the prettiest house in Nova Scotia. When you look at the sloping lines of the bellcast hipped roof and the genteel bays topped with eyebrow windows, I would personally be hard pressed to argue this title. It is hard not to be impressed when you walk past the house and discover it sitting back from the road like a 19th century English country estate transplanted to rural Nova Scotia. This graceful building is so much a part of its landscape that it almost looks like it was grown as part of the elaborate Victorian gardens which once graced the site. This is a rare example of the Regency Style in Nova Scotia.

In 1817, the house was built for the Rector of St. Luke's Anglican Church, Rev. John Millidge. At this point the house was known as Girvan Bank. Following Millidge's death in 1830, the house was sold to the Runciman family. The Runciman family were generally merchants although they has a hand in many business ventures. This prominent local family owned the house until it was transferred to the Heritage Canada Foundation in 1978. The house, complete with a protective heritage easement, was once again sold into private ownership last year.

If you would like to see the Runciman House, it will be included on the Five Century House Tour this Saturday (August 28). This event is a combined fundraiser for the Annapolis Heritage Society and the Historic Gardens. This house tour will be the first opportunity to see the Runciman House since it was returned to private residence status. As an added bonus, some of the original furniture from the Runciman House is currently on display at the O'Dell House Museum in our "Preserving a Legacy" exhibit. Admission to the museum is included as part of your house tour ticket.

All for now,

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Paint the Town 2010

What do you get when you have 70 artists descend on a small Nova Scotia town for two days of painting? Well, if you mix in raising money for a good cause, a large dose of community spirit and the scenic backdrop of Annapolis Royal, you get the Annapolis Region Community Arts Council's annual Paint the Town event. As a bonus, you also get an eagerly anticipated event filled with beautiful paintings. All this and the Eggomatic Chopper for only... oh wait, there is no Eggomatic Chopper only paintings.

Now in its 15th year, this event is one of the main fundraisers for ARCAC. In reality, this event is more than just a fundraiser, Paint the Town is a major community effort. Each year more than 100 volunteers (not including artists) help with fetching paintings from around the community, hanging artwork in the Legion, feeding the starving artists, setting up and dismantling display panels and countless other needed duties. As I have the last few years, I reprised my role as the big mouthed person who tries to keep a semblance or order as people are coming through the checkout at the end of the silent auction. I wonder if I am being typecast? In reality, Paint the Town is also an opportunity to buy artwork produced by some of our province's most talented painters. I made my way home with three new paintings although I am now wondering where they will will hang. It seems that our walls have been amply with the fruits of previous Paint the Towns.

All for now,

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Annapolis Valley Exhibition 2010

Through the years I have been to my share of agricultural exhibitions and county fairs. I have been to large ones like The Royal in Toronto, the Maritime Fall Fair in Halifax and SuperEx in Ottawa. Heck, I have even visited a few state fairs in the United States which were of a decidedly grand nature. Equally, I have been to numerous events with a more intimate feeling like the Dundas Plowing Match in PEI, the Chesterville Fair in Ontario and the Digby County Exhibition in Bear River to name but a few. In fact, many of my most poignant childhood memories involve our annual trips to the PEI Provincial Exhibition (Old Home Week) in Charlottetown. I can clearly remember trying to help my grandfather groom his cattle, watching as he judged the poultry, hanging around the racetrack and generally getting under-foot. I have spent my time on the midway, eaten the cotton candy, stepped in the round brown objects left by the horses and even competed in a couple of the show rings. With this as the background, my two children and I made a trip to the Annapolis Valley Exhibition in Lawrencetown earlier today.

If it doesn't go without saying, the Exhibition is usually a highlight of my summer. I love being able to introduce my kids to the sights and smells that you can only encounter at this sort of event. Admittedly, not all of these smells are pleasant but, they are smells that are worth encountering once in a while. I equally enjoy being able to mingle with the animals as we ambled through the stables. Unless you work with horses how often do you get to stop, pet a horse's nose and wander on? Personally I would answer not often enough.

When you think of it, there are few places where heritage meets the modern day quite as directly as a county fair. Fairs are often a time to demonstrate progress in agriculture but, many of the events and activities have a decidedly old time feel. Earlier today I chuckled when I saw the young lady who had just been driving a horse drawn wagon hop off to check her cell phone. Once she had sent a message back to someone, she unhitched her horse and led it away. I wonder how long it will take for that cell phone to become a display in the agricultural museum at the Exhibition grounds.

A new experience for me was the mild feeling of terror as I watched our 6 year old on one of the "grown up" midway rides. This is one of the rides that comes equipped with a hose in case there are inadvertent mishaps. As it climbed into the sky and spun around, I was left helplessly wondering if the operator had secured the harness safely and envisioning a small body getting tossed out. When the ride was over, I was greeted by a child with glowing eyes telling me "That was WILD". Wild indeed! The Annapolis Valley Exhibition will be going on until August 21.

All for now

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Five Century House Tour - Langstaff House

As I promised when I first mentioned the Five Century House Tour, I am going to try to profile a few of the buildings included on the tour in the coming days. The first featured building is the most modern building on the tour. The Langstaff House is a reproduction Victorian which was built in 2008. The house was designed by the homeowners and built by local builders Terry Taylor and Jeff Mackintosh. The highly decorated exterior of the house was built in the Stick Style. Hallmarks of this style found on this structure are the vibrant colours and decorative shingles. In the interior of the house the Eastlake Style plays the backdrop for the owners tasteful collections of Victorianna. Note the carved wooden door frames and the use of antique locks, handles and drawer pulls. Personally, I feel that the grand staircase located in the side bay is an absolutely charming feature of this house. Unfortunately, you will need to purchase a ticket for the house tour to see this staircase.

The Five Century House tour is a combined fundraiser for the Annapolis Heritage Society and the Historic Gardens. More detailed information on the tours is available on the Coming Events section of the AHS website. If you would like to order tickets online for one of the three tours (Day, Mystery House and Evening Musical Heritage) you can do so through the Historic Gardens shop. The tour takes place on August 28.

All for now,

Monday, August 16, 2010

A Swim at Lake Larose

While the Annapolis Royal region may be more commonly associated with the salt water of the Bay of Fundy and the Annapolis Basin, we also have more than our share of fresh water. The area around Annapolis Royal boasts a wonderful collection of lakes and rivers. These bodies of water have been used for recreational purposes for generations. From fishing and swimming to canoeing and skipping stones, our fresh water has been appreciated by many people. Truthfully, there are still few things nicer than sitting by the side of a lake on a warm summer night and watching the night sky.

Today's image comes from the Perkins Collection in the Annapolis Heritage Society Archives. This seemed to be an appropriate image for the middle of August. This picture was taken by Charlotte Perkins, one of the great chroniclers of Annapolis Royal's history, circa 1905. This lake is found on the South Mountain about 10 minutes outside of Annapolis Royal. The image shows a couple of children (labelled E.K. and A.K.) swimming at Lake Larose. Based on other images in this collection, I am assuming that A.K. is Arthur Kelsall. E.K. is more than likely another member of the Kelsall family.

All for now,

Sunday, August 15, 2010

North Hills Museum Old Car Show

With a rumble of engines, the cars descended on North Hills Museum earlier today. Not just any cars, these were classic and antique from across western Nova Scotia. As you approached the museum, the sight of a row of cars from the 1920s lined across the front of the property was very impressive. When you actually got to take a look around, the you realized that site was filled with cars from the turn of the twentieth century through to the 1970s. I must admit that I find the concept of cars that I remember from my youth being considered classic a bit disarming, but such is life.

Perhaps the most impressive vehicle of the day was the 1902/03 Oldsmobile Curved Dash. This open top vehicle is almost more horse drawn buggy than automobile. Its one cylinder engine drives a chain which powers a car in a similar manner to how a motorcycle moves. Rather than a steering wheel, the driver has a stick to turn left and right. This car is a wonderful example of the transition from horse to horsepower.

Thanks to the owners of these cars for sharing them with us and to the staff at North Hills Museum for pulling the event together. We look forward to welcoming the cars again next year.

All for now,