Sunday, July 7, 2019
My brother had observed a house on Derry Road in Mississauga that he believes should be included in our post of surviving homes from the town of Mount Charles – Ghost Towns of The GTA. Having been in the area checking out the historic town of Malton, it seemed like a good idea to visit this home as well.
Below is the county atlas for 1877 which shows the house as belonging to John Robinson, one lot east of the community of Mount Charles. Formally known as lot 10, Con 4 East Half Side it was a 100 acre lot. The dots between the house and Derry Road indicate the orchard that once grew there.
The house was built in 1877 and replaced an earlier log structure on the property. It stayed in the Robinson family until 1902 when the farm was sold to Fred Clarke. The Clarke family continued to farm here until the 1960’s.
The house is listed on the heritage register as Victorian Gothic Revival. The north side of the home has the pointed arch window in the upper floor that is traditional for the gothic revival. The three windows on the first floor have more of a rounded arch typical of the Italianate style that had been popular since the 1840’s. Victorian homes often mix styles and pay little attention to symmetry. Notice the three windows on the lower floor are not spaced equally.
The gingerbread is falling off but at one time the house was decorously trimmed. Each of the windows has a small row of brick cut in opposing angles running across the top and extending a couple of inches beyond the face of the wall.
Someone has taken the time to paint the window boarding black with white trim to simulate the windows behind and make the house look a little more appealing. The windows at the rear of the house have not been painted in the same manner.
The front of the house had two doors, one facing east and one facing north. The wall above the east facing door has cracked and shifted considerably. The bricks were laid in a stretcher bond where the long side of each brick is exposed. The outer layer is starting to fall away revealing the inner one beside the top of the door. A large front porch was removed from the house but its outline is still clearly visible.
The rear of the house had an addition at some point in which a kitchen was added as well as a drive shed. The rear opening would have allowed the tack to be brought into the building. Above the door the theme of extended stonework above the lintel is continued but it has not been done above the drive shed opening. The mix of architectural styles is interesting.
There is a single window at the back of the drive shed portion of the house.
The north elevation of the house shows a door into the kitchen area of the extension. A metal post is bolted to the wall on both sides of the building. This looks to be beside the section of the extension that represents the drive shed. These type of metal plates suggest that the structure had to be supported and strengthened. It makes me wonder if the house was moved from a location deeper on the property.
The difference in construction between the original house and the extension can be seen in the brickwork above the windows. While the original windows were quite ornate and the quoins on the corners were made of lighter bricks. The dichromate brick colouring appears to have been abandoned for the extension except for the east side in which it was carried on.
The house was built on a foundation of field stones collected on the farm. The county atlas appears to show it farther from the road but that may just be a reflection of the fact that the road was only two lanes as wide back in 1877 instead of the six lanes it carries today.
The picture below was taken in 1989 before the two large warehouses were erected on either side of the house. Even 30 years ago this house was abandoned and the roof was starting to cave in. Notice that there is a bell cote on the top of the drive shed that is missing the bell. The bell cote has been removed from the house and a few minor repairs have been made to the roof to keep the house from deteriorating further.
The house is listed on the heritage register for Mississauga but it is unclear what the future holds for this historic house from the community of Mount Charles.
Google Maps Link: Mount Charles
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