I like log houses. I like brick houses too but I still like log houses more. I grew up in both. I enjoyed both. My great grandmother used to have a log house on the mountain side near a shallow river (Southern Poland). A beautiful sight. My grandparents nearby had a log animal barn attached to their house. I lived in an old German built brick house with no basement (Northern Poland). The house was heated with coal and wood but we did have electricity. I lived like that for 14 years waking up to cool winter mornings. Perhaps that is why I enjoy old houses. I see each and every one of them as unique, with a sense of cozy character and untold history.
“Every man’s memory is his private literature.” ~ Aldous Huxley
For the longest time I thought that the Petch Log house (currently located at the Aurora Community Arboretum near the Aurora Senior Centre on John West Way) was the last log house in the Town of Aurora, Ontario. I thought that, until I found another one. It was mid-day in early December 2014 when I noticed the exposed brown logs of the house at the North-East corner of St. John’s Sideroad and Leslie Street.
I got sidetracked for whatever reason and forgot about the place for the next few weeks. It looked like just another normal farm house when it was all covered with, I believe, white siding. It was a house standing all alone for a long time and eventually like many other old farm houses it was going to be demolished. I wasn’t inclined to photograph the house for any particular reason but then I got a message from a friend.
Kind of strange because the message came just before the house was going to be taken apart and moved elsewhere. I laughed since it seemed like these kind of photography projects are following me rather than me following them. So I did get there in time.
I started my research in a few areas but I wasn’t getting far. I approached former Aurora Town Councillor Evelyn Buck for help. First she gave me directions: “I don’t know anything about that house. Like Petch House it would have been part of Whitchurch history. Whitchurch particularly the Village of Vandorf pay a lot of attention to their history.” This is when I referred to the Historical Atlas of York County, Ontario, Illustrated, Miles & Company, Toronto 1878 and narrowed it down to the Lundy log house.
She later wrote me:
“Apparently known as the Lundy House. Its location was the farm backing onto the Petch farm. The house was identical to the Petch House but apparently in a hundred per cent better condition. The original land grant was to a Captain somebody or other and sold to the Lundy family. Which makes it likely original to settlement. The house might very well have been built by the same builder of the Petch House. I have been informed that John McIntyre visited the site with a consultant from Barrie hired by the town and declared the house to have no historical significance or authenticity. Which allowed it to be taken apart and transported elsewhere.” ~ Evelyn Buck
It seems unfortunate that the Lundy log house was of no significant heritage value. Since it was one of the last of such houses left standing one could assume otherwise. But it’s not up to me to determine of what value it could be.
Photo shooting the Lundy log house was like re-living my photo shoot of the Petch log house, my two year project. Lot’s of interesting memories. One memorable one was having my three year old by my side when I was shooting the dis-assembly of the house. At the time, we were watching from across Leslie Street and he was running up and down the hill, occasionally stopping to look at what was happening. Interestingly enough he got to witness a bit of the Lundy house disassembly as well, this time watching from the car window. He is now almost seven years old.
The photo above was my last shot of the Lundy log house from the car window on January 11, 2015. The next day the house was gone.
So was the Lundy log house the last log house in Town? Not really. The Lundy log house was the last exposed log house. For now the restored Petch log house is the last log house in Town; until another hidden treasure is uncovered. I have a feeling that there are others. The Lundy log house left our town in pieces. Perhaps one day someone will inform us of its new location.
Anna Lozyk Romeo