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Brick Works

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Yet another house on a hill turned away from the street to face the view is the Robert Kingan House, built c. 1863.  Directly across Brock Street from Hutchison House, this beauty is currently getting a face lift.  Several months ago, a massive addition on the back was torn down in a matter of one day.  In the past few weeks, the original look of the brickwork has been being restored by a company called The Brick Painters.

I've watched them perform their magic on a few other properties in town, and they do a phenomenal job.  This is not the usual sandblasting but instead a method of faux finish that restores the appearance of the brick without risking potential damage from common cleaning methods.  You can't tell these bricks are painted!  The whole house used to be that awful yellow you can still see on the back where the addition was removed.  Just look at it now!  I also love the look of the new entrance porch; contemporary Arts & Crafts Revival.

Aligned to the View

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Another example of a house not facing the road, but situated to take advantage of a view, is the Jane Wilson House.  This unusual cottage, built circa 1880, was originally only one storey, but features two front projecting bay windows, a common feature of many larger homes of that era.  The house was just outside the original northern town boundary of Smith Street, now Parkhill Road.  At the time, it would have sat alone on the crest of a country hill overlooking Peterborough.  Newer houses and mature trees now block the view, although a glimpse of it can still be seen by looking south down the street.

This house changed hands a lot, but it was owned for over twenty years by the late Dr. Barclay McKone and his wife, Lorna.  The quirky position of this house and its large front garden, serene on this quiet little street, reminds me so much of England.

Bit of a Mystery, Solved -- Part 2

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The breakthrough to this mystery building came when I found it on Google Street View.    On my iPad, I navigated around the building to the Bethune Street side where I saw an entrance door with a house number (hidden here by a tree).  Eureka.  It was in fact a house on Bethune Street, not a mystery building on Edinburgh!


This house is another case of an unusual placement, with the property not facing the street.  Placing the house in this direction gave it the best vantage point for a magnificent view of Peterborough from this hill.  The house was built in the 1880s by James R. Donnell Jr., partner in the construction firm Donnell and Stabler.  The house backs on to Edinburgh.  Originally there was a good sized front garden that overlooked a Donnell Family compound, comprised of a modest 1870s brick house also built by James Junior, and his father James Donnell Senior's 1840s family homestead cottage to the south.  Both these houses are still standing, but the family homes have b…

Bit of a Mystery -- Part 1

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Back in May I took this photo of a building I couldn't identify.  Quite sizeable, it sits perched on the south east hillside corner of Edinburgh and Bethune.

I always approached it from the east, which shows a walkout basement made of stone.


It reminded me of nineteenth century French country houses, but it reminded me even more of 1860s era schools.  The 1875 Romaine map shows an empty lot, one of two lots owned by James Donnell that comprised the east side of Bethune Street from Dublin to Edinburgh.  I wondered if it was some special private school.  I couldn't find any reference to such a place on Edinburgh, but kept it on the back burner in case I came across something.

Mystery solved in Part 2...please read on!

Ashburnham - Part 3

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Beside each other on Robinson Street, two large red brick, two and a half storey houses were built twenty years apart.  Both were owned by wealthy Ashburnham business families.  It's interesting to see how the popular architectural styles changed in just a few decades.  One hundred years later, houses built in the 1960s were much smaller than those built in the 1980s.  Not so different from Victorian times!
The Henry Calcutt House, 1866

Victorian gothic with gingerbread style wood trim.  The house remained in the Calcutt family from 1869 until the late 1940s.  Calcutt owned a brewery on the Otonabee River, just west of his house.  Calcutt also owned a steamship line which ran along the river to Rice Lake.  His vessels provided a necessary waterway link for railway passengers, and also ran recreational excursions.
Lakeview, the John C. Sullivan House, 1886

This Italianate style Victorian mansion originally also had iron cresting on the roof, and the long thin windows had shutters. …

Mansard Mansions on Brock Street

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There is a dumpster in front of 220 Brock Street.  The front porch (not the original) and steps have been removed, which hopefully means there are positive changes in store.  I was beginning to lose hope for this former beauty, as it seemed to be falling almost derelict.
The three Italianate style mansions on the north side of Brock, just east of Aylmer, were once part of a string of grand homes built along this block in the 1870s to the early 1880s.  Two more were located where the 1960s high rise Brock Towers now stands.  To the east, a large 1870s mansion is the only other survivor, and it now houses the Youth Emergency Shelter. The original roofs of these mansions were far more ornate, with wrought iron cresting, mansards, and faux turrets.  I imagine these features were high maintenance and only lasted a few decades.  Only 220 still has its faux turret look.
Sadly, both 220 and 226 Brock Street were crudely broken up into apartments during the years of the Great Depression.  220…

The Old Y

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The former YMCA building at George and Murray Streets has been sitting mostly empty since 2006.  I've been inside only a few times during the past decade to view Spark photo exhibits.  It has sat unchanged but empty, a keeper of endless memories for those of us who grew up here and enjoyed the many facilities it provided our community.  Talk of refurbishment had been going on for so long it was almost a shock to see the partial demolition that is now happening.
The original structure was built in 1896, officially opening in May of 1897.  Designed by Peterborough architect William Blackwell, the YMCA was built by funds bequeathed from Charlotte Nicholls, and further subsidized by George Cox.  Major additions occurred in 1930, and modern facilities continued to be added in the 1960s and 70s.


The original 1896 exterior is largely being left intact.  The Murray Street side of the 1930 addition has been completely demolished, while the George Street side has been entirely gutted.  The…