What is happening with the Petch Log House? Nobody knows. However, I am sure that eventually our Town will figure something out and find some practical use for the restored Petch Log House. The house is currently located in the Aurora Community Arboretum on John West Way near Aurora Senior’s Centre. This is not the original location of the house though.
The Petch log house was originally located on the farm lands along Leslie Street between Wellington Street and St. John’s sideroad, formerly part of Whitchurch. Before the current location on John West Way was determined another location was considered, Sheppard’s Bush Conservation Area. The Lake Simcoe Conservation Authority rejected the Town’s proposal because the requirement was that the house needed to retain approximately 90% of its original structure when restored. Unoccupied and unprotected the house was left in the field for many years awaiting the Town’s decision. In that time it deteriorated significantly. In the end, full restoration left the house with approximately 70% of its original structure. Some may ask why the restored house is covered with siding, because it does not look like a log house at all? One of the reasons is the siding will help protect the logs from further deterioration. However, inside the house the logs are currently exposed.
While investigating and digging into the history of the Lundy Log House that was recently taken apart and relocated from our Town, I received additional information about the history of the Petch Log House along with a few old photographs. I thought they were worth sharing, so here we are.
John McIntyre wrote: “Joe Lundy also passed the attached picture on to me, showing the barn, barnyard and horses on the Petch farm to the south. The Lundys and the Petches were part of the same farming community and knew each other well. The barn in this picture was located close to the spot where Swiss Chalet is located now, facing Wellington Street.” John is referring to the barn picture below.
Later John McIntyre added: “The barn in the picture was on the original Jonathan Petch farm on present-day Wellington Street. Miss Pogue bought the Isaac Petch farm which was directly to the north and which included the log house.”
John McIntyre’s information connected very well with my recent correspondence with James Pogue, Ada Pogue’s nephew. Ada Pogue was one of the owners of the Petch Log house in the 1950s.
“The camera is no more an instrument of preservation, the image is.” ~ Berenice Abbott
An Email from James Pogue, January 25, 2015. “Greetings, I have not yet seen the Petch house but understand that it has been restored and moved from its original location. Somebody told me that one of the the van Nostrands had renovated the building. We have been friends of that family for a great many years. And as our family attended Wesley United Church we knew the Petch family as well. It so happens that my late aunt Ada Pogue owned the Petch farm for a long time. … I can not remember her place. However, there are photographs showing dinners she hosted at ‘Victory Farms’. You will find a couple of them attached. One shows my aunt with what must have been an early gas powered lawn mower. The second shows Ada (in the centre of the photo) with 3 of her 5 brothers and 2 sisters-in-law. My mother, Ruth Pogue is on the extreme left and my father, Clayton Pogue, is on the extreme right.”
Later on I did a little of my own background investigation. I had to, I had new clues. I often read old local newspapers from the late 1800s or early 1900s. I thought perhaps searching for Ada Pogue would lead to something. It did and it wasn’t easy, but I think I found a published Vandorf column in the Era from the 1950s possibly matching one of Ada’s dinner party photos that was submitted to us by James Pogue.
The Newmarket Era and Express, Thursday, Jan. 24, 1952 pg.7, VANDORF “A very interesting and pleasant time was had on Saturday evening at the home of Miss Ada Pogue, when she entertained neighbors and friends to an open house. Miss Pogue purchased a few years ago what was known as the William Crawford farm, which has a log dwelling house. She has repaired and decorated this house beautifully, also added a large recreation room with a stone fireplace. Some of these stones represent nearly every evening at the home of Miss Pogue is a horse lover and she has decorated the walls with some beautiful designs. After games of euchre and croquinole, a delicious lunch was served with the addition of two large cakes designed in horse-shoe pattern. The cutting of these cakes was made by Mrs. Russell Snider of Nobleton and Mr. John Crawford, two of the guests who were born in this house.” Source: Fulton History Papers.
I was not very successful finding information about Mrs. Russell Snider of Nobleton and Mr. John Crawford mentioned in the Vandorf column; however, from past experience I know its a matter of time. Hope you enjoyed reading a bit of Aurora history today as much as I had fun searching and sharing my findings.
Anna Lozyk Romeo, Editor’s Notes
Copyright 2015 Anna Lozyk Romeo / community FOCUS LivingInAurora.com