'It's a work of art:' Wolfe Island Historical Society pushes to save century-old home from demolition
WOLFE ISLAND, ONT. -- A historical society on Wolfe Island, near Kingston, Ont., is trying to save a century-old house from demolition in Marysville.
The house, known as the ‘Briceland House,’ sits steps from the Marysville Ferry Terminal, which is under construction by the Ministry of Transportation.
The house is set to be demolished by the end of the month as part of the planned work, but the Wolfe Island Historical Society insists it should be preserved.
President Kimberley Thomas says the house, built in 1921, has many original features that should be kept intact.
Those include original indoor-flush toilets, a feature many homes on the island didn’t have at the time, unique wall stencilling and art from that era.
She also says the outside of the home has features that should be protected, including pillars on the outside of the home from an old church from the 1870s.
“They’re even older than the home to the island’s history,” explains Thomas. “The roof lines are very unique for that style of house... (and) the top of that first story window is all original glass, its glorious, just beautiful, and from the inside its just even more beautiful.”
“It’s not a house; it’s a work of art.”
In a statement to CTV News, the Ministry of Transportation confirms demolition has to take place before the end of September, for upcoming construction of the Marysville dock.
“A Heritage Impact Assessment was completed on the house in August 2019 and while the property was identified as having cultural heritage value of local significance or interest, it did not meet the requirements for designation as a Provincial Heritage Property of Provincial Significance,” read the statement.
“The ministry understands that the Wolfe Island Historical Society has an interest in the house at its current location. Ministry staff has met with members of the Historical Society and will continue to discuss options to address concerns.”
The group of volunteers insist they never saw any details about the loss of the house before last month.
“We didn’t know about it, we were not informed about it, this ‘public consultation’ that’s been done, we weren’t consulted,” Thomas said. “A lot of people in the community thought the same as us, that the house would be standing.”
The society is appealing to the Township of Frontenac Islands to preserve the house, but say the mayor has refused to meet with them.
They say protecting the house would require enacting a heritage bylaw.
“This takes time and we’ve got less than a month,” says Thomas.
Frontenac Islands Mayor Denis Doyle says it would be “inappropriate to comment ahead of the next council meeting on Sept. 14.
“We look forward to seeing them when the full council is together,” he said.
Thomas insists that the group doesn’t want the work on the ferry to be stopped or delayed, but the house doesn’t need to be destroyed for it to continue.
They instead want the building to become a new hub, museum, or store for those getting off the boat to use.
“I’m just looking forward to porch parties, and teas and having local business artisans display their wares inside, all different activities that could create employment,” she said. “We’re looking forward to the new boat, and the new dock, and all the new visitors and something for them to do.”