By John McIntyre, Aurora ON. Great story about the Lundy log house! I first heard of this house about three years ago when Joe Lundy, who was born there over eighty years ago, brought it to my attention. He took me to the house where we trespassed our way into the cellar to see some of the original construction details. By then, all its original windows and doors were gone, it had been covered in several layers of siding, and was obscured by several large additions. It was vacant, and its owners seemed to have little interest in maintaining it.
I brought the house to the attention of the Town of Aurora Heritage Advisory Committee and visited it again with the Town’s Heritage Planner, Vanessa Hicks. When its owners applied for a demolition permit, the Committee required them to pay for an architectural and historical study by a qualified heritage consultant. The study determined that there was indeed a log house buried under all that siding and amidst all those additions. It recommended that, if its owners were intent on demolition, they be required to have it done by hand, not by bulldozer, that its construction details be fully recorded and that any reusable parts be salvaged and repurposed. The Committee eventually agreed not to oppose the granting of a demolition permit, provided that these conditions were met. Town Council supported this decision.
I do not believe that the Petch log house had greater historical significance. The difference was that it came with some money attached, money granted by a developer to move the house and pay for its initial stabilization and conservation. Sadly, the Lundy log house did not. Too often, decisions regarding what we save and what we lose are based on what money is available at one particular point in time.
The Petch log house was nearly lost to us once again when it was moved by an inexperienced contractor and then left to deteriorate for several years. Katherine Belrose, who started a group called The Friends of Petch House, will tell you that I offered little encouragement by the time she came to me for help—even though I have a distant family connection to the builders of the Petch log house. If it had not been for the determination of people like Councillor Evelyn Buck, master craftsman Peter Van Nostrand, and Jim Tree and members of the Town of Aurora Parks Department, the house would have crumbled to dust and a reminder of our pioneer past would have been lost.
While the Lundy log house did not see a similar renaissance, at least it has been documented in the Town’s report and now in your wonderful photographs.
Above is a picture of the extended Lundy family, probably taken in the 1930s, standing beside their house. By then, the logs had been covered by wooden siding, visible on the left. Photo submitted to John McIntyre by Joe Lundy. Photo published with permission of John McIntyre and Joe Lundy.