By Anna Lozyk Romeo, Aurora ON. I came at sunrise and then I came back at sunset to see the ‘demolition‘ in progress of the Lundy brick house (currently located off St. John’s sideroad, east of Bayview Avenue). Perhaps, not exactly a demolition, but that is what the Demolition Permit from Town of Aurora Building and By-law Services said. I don’t know the full history of the Lundy brick house but I did hear a few little details that this house was one, or one of the first built ‘solid brick‘ houses in York Region. Thus the need for preservation of its significance. The Lundy house has been vacant for some time and it appears that its restoration was left to the last phase of residential development in the surrounding area, that is now.
About the current status, all I know is that the Lundy brick house was going to be restored and be part of the residential area. The house was going to be residing near its original location. Plans were to move the house to align with other houses; however, it was determined that the house wasn’t structurally sound and lifting the house would have caused more structural damage. The house is a solid masonry style brick house, also referred to as a double brick or sold brick house. In a few words, this means that brick is the main structural component of the house, in comparison to most houses built today that are brick veneer houses and rely on a wooden frame to hold up the house.
Here is an interesting read about Solid Brick vs. Brick Veneer houses that could apply to the architecture of the Lundy brick house.“Piece by piece, Town of Aurora heritage is disappearing.”
Last week I was driving by and I noticed work being done on the house. At first, because it was from far away, I thought that they were carelessly chipping bricks away and I thought that no way the house can be restored. However, what they were chipping away was the first outside layer of the brick house, as you can see in the photos. It wasn’t what I expected; no mapping, bricks flying off a scaffold, looked kind of odd for a restoration job. But I guess better brick by brick demolition and not like it was done to the Petch Farm House that was located near the intersection of Wellington Street and First Commerce Drive; the wall knocked down with a bulldozer first and then the bricks collected. Not to mention those stripped bricks were left outside on skids for almost a year.
A few years ago my Facebook friend, Cheryl Lundy Stuart wrote this blog post about her Lundy family history and her journey once visiting the abandoned Lundy house that once belonged to her ancestors, Walking Their Footsteps. The post can give you a timeline of how long this house stood in the field without a living soul, and in addition stood alone in the overgrown farmland; but as of today not anymore.
As this house is gearing up for the next stage, the Town of Aurora as a whole is too. Piece by piece, Town of Aurora heritage is disappearing. A negative note that is, definitely not a way to conclude this post, but that’s what it is, a lingering death of our heritage. The good news is that the Lundy brick house will partially live, not sure what it will be. But the sight of bricks being stacked on skids for the next stage of restoration seems somehow promising for the Lundy brick house.
Update June 3rd, 2015: “Fortunately, the Lundy House will rise again. Through the work of the Town of Aurora Heritage Advisory Committee and Minto Homes, this historic landmark is being taken apart brick by brick, under the supervision of one of Ontario’s leading restoration architects. It will then be reconstructed on a new foundation, immediately to the north so that it will still be clearly visible from Bayview Avenue and St. John’s Sideroad. Reconstructing a historic building is not the best means of preservation, but years of vandalism had taken their toll.” ~ John McIntyre, Aurora ON.
Anna Lozyk Romeo, Editor’s Notes
Copyright 2015 Anna Lozyk Romeo / community FOCUS LivingInAurora.com