Urbex: Abandoned 1867 Heritage Farmhouse Explore

Overview

Added to Centre Wellington heritage list map January 2021.

Located at the north corner of **th Line East and Sideroad **. Lot **, Concession ** of Pilkington Twp. There are two L4C2s, one on the east side of the Grand River and one on the west (E and W). CN Fergus Subdivision ran through the lot along the northeast end until 1987. The CN Fergus Subdivision used to be the Wellington, Grey and Bruce (WG&B) Railway built in 1870. (redacted to protect location).

Click link here to watch the YouTube video of this explore.

There are 6 houses/properties on Lot * today (including abandoned), 5 out of 6 front onto Sideroad *. One of them is built in the former rail ROW.

It appears to have been abandoned for quite some time. Unable to identify an exact date – we were able to locate a student agenda belonging to a female who attended St. Anne’s School in Kitchener from the year 2000. I find it unlikely that this was someone who resided in the house it’s difficulty to understand why someone would attend an elementary school so far away from where they live (approx. 40 kms away, when there were schools way close than that).

This research was done after we explored the property, we came upon it out of happenstance, on our way to another property.

We could tell from being there that the log house was old – the logs appeared to be handcrafted cut not milled, I could tell by what appeared to be uneven little hatchet markings on the exterior logs (inside the house where the later applied drywall had been pulled down). You can also see in the one photo above, where as the years progressed, they tried to “modernize” the house by adding siding.

The earliest information available online about the property was the 1867 survey.

1867 Survey:

In 1867 L4C2 had:

  • David Black (freeholder)
  • John Everett (freeholder)
  • John Gale (freeholder)
  • David Milne (freeholder)
  • George Milne (householder)
  • John Swan (freeholder)

The ages of the outbuildings aren’t documented that I could easily access.

There was barn – the concrete slab to one of the entries says Weber IPPE. If anyone in the #urbex or #blogging community knows who or what Weber IPPPE (see photo below) is, please comment below. I wasn’t able to find anything.

There were also 2 what I would consider storage/drive sheds.

A bit About the Milne Family:

A History of Elora from 1906-7 says that David Milne and his wife Ann Scott came from Auchinblae, Fordoun, Kincardineshire, Scotland and settled in Pilkington in 1844. Their daughter, also Ann, married David Black, who shows up in 1867 as a freeholder — they likely subdivided the original farm so that David and Ann could have their own homestead. It seems likely that the log cabin is the original home or at least an early build, and was the corner lot that is fully cleared rather than the wooded “back acres” to the east. (link) It’s possible that the Sideroad 4 fronted properties were the subdivisions, or perhaps the reverse, though the Elora history seems to establish a Milne-Holman continuity.

Land registry information from the 1870’s shows more and more land going to David Black, likely the larger part of the lot (Geo. Keith below) ended up being larger.

Alex Holman first appears in land documents in 1876? but as the grantor, not the grantee, to David Milne — perhaps something complicated was going on. Alex Holman seems to have acquired all the 1906 land by 1896.

A bit About the Holman family:

A 1906 map shows 3 sets of names:

Full Title: Nichol and Pilkington Townships, Ennotville Village, Gluaysville, Alma
Full Atlas Title: Wellington County 1906

Alex Holman living where the cabin is now.

George Keith, living along Sideroad *

Misses Mary & Susan Swan, living at the corner of 2nd Line and Sideroad * on the other side of the WG&B tracks.

Holman genealogy shows that there was an Alex HOLMAN born in Dundas circa 1831. Alex HOLMAN’s wife Julia was born in Pilkington. Alex HOLMAN died in Pilkington and is buried at Elora. At time of death, he farmed at Lot * Concession 2 Pilkington Twp — that location. There is another Alex HOLMAN (his son) whose brother was born in the 1860s, who died not long after (1920s) in Traverse City Michigan. The Holmans seem to have moved to Michigan.

Alexander HOLMAN married his wife Julia in 1876 and by this point is listed as a widower and yeoman aged 44. (link) In 1887 his son John J. HOLMAN (28, carpenter) married Mary Agnes DRISCOLL. His mother is listed as Catherine NORTON, likely Alexander HOLMAN’s first wife. (link)

House Explore

The house itself was eclectic — upon entry you have the option to go in 1 of 3 directions – left, right and straight ahead down to the cellar. 

The entries to the living room and kitchen, respectively, have a bit of a Chainsaw Massacre vibe with the cold storage freezer strip curtains.  Who would put that in a house? I’m assuming the attempt was to keep the cold air out? 

Screen Shot 2021-03-29 at 8.05.46 PM

The house shows it’s many years of inhabitation.  Much graffiti covers the walls, someone in a vain attempt to hide the crudeness of some of the black graffiti attempted to cover it with red spray paint – no success.    

Attempts to “modernize” don’t fit with the cabin – very low ceilings which I’m sure would have been nice wood back in its original days.  Vinyl flooring, which I am sure back in the day would have been nice wood as well.  

The house has 3 upper bedrooms, small.  80’s-90’s wallpaper with equal flooring choices up there – with some colourful doors and frames. 

Later Ownership:

After Alexander Holman died, it seems the property went to Robert SWAN (descendant of John Swan?) and Edward HALL in the 1920s-30s. The Bird family also appears around this time.

The Wright family first appears in the 1950s.

1983: Slater deeded to Blair

1992: CN Rail to Twp of Pilkington (likely the rail corridor being sold)

1992: Blair to Poljanski

1992: Poljanski to National Trust (mortgage?)

1994: 266312: Poljanski to Wright

1994: Wright to National Trust (mortgage?)

1997: National Trust Company to Toronto-Dominion Bank

I’m unable find anything sooner than 1997.

That’s about all I was able to locate online about this property. I don’t know the exact details of the heritage designation, what I do know is that it would be a shame to lose another local farmstead.

Let me know what you thought of this explore – be sure to check out the YouTube version of the explore -> I’ve posted it again here for your ease of reference.

Urbex: Northern Ontario Abandoned Hotel Explore!

The Lookout Inn is situated just south of North Bay, in Callander, Ontario. It used to be a hotel with a dining area and patio overlooking Lake Nipissing. The two buildings became a popular destination for vandals over the next decade.

The well known and unique resort in Callander had officially re-opened its doors to the public in 2017. They repaired one of the buildings and opened Terrace Suites Resort. There’s a golf course on the property which sits between the old and new buildings. 

“The old Lookout Inn, we are going to have some engineering people come in and look at it to see if it’s restorable. If not we would have to demolish and decide whether we want to do anymore building on the property,” said 1 of the owners John Jameson in 2016.  

From the current state of the building and from something I saw posted online, it doesn’t look as if the current owners will be able to utilize the old hotel in the renovations of the current suites. After it closed in the 1990’s, the property has become derelict – the owner has said it will have to be torn down, but they are mulling future development plans for the site.

IMG_4654

The hotel is pretty emptied and gutted, no exterior windows exist, however the glassless windows still overlook some of the most gorgeous panoramic views of the Lake Nippissing lookout. 

Some pretty cool graffiti.  The one part where the room is filled with water, it’s damp – nature is slowly taking over – moss covers the floor and old tubs.  

While there isn’t much to see in this abandoned hotel, it was still very cool to have been – sometimes it’s still better to have been late than to not have been at all – and if they’re going to be tearing it down in the next little while, I’m glad that I was able to urbex it prior to.

What’s the best place you’ve urbexed? Any hints or tips on the Ontario area? Comment below.

YES, I Washed my UGGS in the Washing Machine!

Who doesn’t LOVE a good pair of UGGs (or UGG look alikes)? I’m on my third pair — this pair is an UGG Classic Short II – super comfy, I can’t imagine my life without a pair of UGGs in them! And, let’s be real, UGGs aren’t on the cheap side either, with a price point averaging about $195 CDN + tax. I’ve had this pair for about 4 years and to be honest, at this point they owe me nothing, they have been perfectly good to me. However, as I have with my tall classics and my grey knits, I’ve been hard on them, and haven’t maintained them, I didn’t spray them, and never cleaned them after they got wet. This pair is on its way to the same unfortunate fate (the bin) unless I can salvage them somehow.

The biggest question to anyone who owns a pair of UGGs is … can I put them in the washing machine? The answer straight from the UGGSs mouth and anyone else in the shoe industry is an unequivocal NO! You cannot clean your UGGs in the washing machine. Authentic UGGs are made with suede which can easily be damaged if put in a washer. 

See, I take the word “can” in “can easily be damaged if you put them in a washer” as more of challenge – it can ooooorrrrr it cannot. And, since my poor beaten down UGGs are on the way to the bin if I can’t save them, the least I can do is try to bring them back to life and save my pocket book a couple hundred dollars.  

Suede is leather that has been chemically or physically abraded to produce a napped finish. Suede leather has more of a decorative finish than other types of leather. It’s a more delicate version of leather.

Knowing that, I’m still going to take the chance and throw them in the washing machine. I’ll let the chips fall where they may. At this point I’m not sure if the ending to this is going to be a success story about saving a pair of sad, old UGGs or the story of how I tried to save a pair of UGGs and ended up destroying them in the process.

Ok, so here are my UGGs …. watermarked, dirty and there’s a hole on the tip of the right toe … the poor things have seen better days … let’s see if we can save them and get a bit more life out of them …

  1. I tossed them in my front load washer on the delicate cycle (cold water wash and a cold water spin). I added 1 tab Kirkland detergent (I didn’t have any softer detergent such as a baby detergent). I also thought that putting my UGGs in with my hiking clothes (I don’t wear my UGGs for hiking, I had just got in from a hike and was washing my clothes) they wouldn’t bounce around the washer as much resulting in saving them from possible damage and precluding the hole in the tip of the toe from growing.

2) Once that cycle had run, I re-ran the washer on spin and drain 1 more time, as the load was still pretty soaked (because it was on delicate) and heavy.

3) So here are my UGGs fresh out of the washer … they don’t look ruined. They look clean – better than they have in a long while – but they’re wet – lets see what they look like when they’re dry.

IMG_4350

I added Norwex cloths in them to absorb the some of the wetness and to help them keep their shape as they dried. I let them dry for about 18 hours.

4) Once they were dry, I then used my Horsehair Shoe Shine Brush and Crepe Suede Shoe Brush (items 1 and 3 below – this is the kit I own, purchased from Amazon) gently across the suede to restore its nappy texture. Once that was done, I took a lint roller and rolled it over my boots to pick up the extra suede from the de-napping.

Screen Shot 2021-03-08 at 6.00.32 PM

5) To fix the hole in the toe tip, I decided to use what I had on hand, and that was Adhaero Super Glue. My only goal was to seal the hole to prevent snow from entering and to keep it from growing. This fix was utilitarian not cosmetic.

6) The fluffy material inside UGGs is wool. The fleece had eventually worn down and became matted due to wear. I used my dog’s brush to unmat my UGG insoles – it worked – they’re fluffy and soft again (I lint rolled the inside too!).

7) The next thing I did was use some Rain and Stain Protector, I applied 2 coats. Applied the 1st coat, waited an hour and reapplied.

IMG_4534

So, all in all, I feel good about giving my UGGs a new lease on life. Other than the standard aged crease marks and minor repair to the toe hole, they’re definitely still in good shape and washing them in the washing machine did not ruin them.

I can certainly appreciate that you wouldn’t want to do this regularly, but if it’s do or toss — I’ll opt for ‘do’ any day of the week. This revamp of my UGGs cost me $0.00 – it cost me a bit of time and a bit of elbow grease and saved me abt $220 on a new pair (for now).

After/Before – Amazing Transformation

Has anyone else washed their UGGs in the washing machine? Comment below.

Urbex: Exploring 3 Abandoned Farm Houses in 1 DAY!

Another awesome #urbex today – I was able to find not 1, not 2 but 3 abandoned farm houses to explore. I actually located 6-7 in a little cluster in Milton/Oakville – but am only going to post about these 3 today.

IF YOUR INTERESTED IN SEEING THE VIDEO VERSION OF THIS POST – CLICK HERE!

On a Cultural Heritage Assessment Report I found online, it indicated that a couple of these houses are listed as having been given heritage designation. However, to be honest, nothing about these houses seem to be aimed at bringing life back into them. I’m sure if I researched more – there are limitations to their protection and preservation. I fear that these beautiful nearly 120 year old homes will fall into such a state of disrepair that they will be too far gone for preservation.

As usual, I do not give out the exact location of the homes I explore, this post will be no different.

Property #1

Not a heritage home by any stretch. I would classify this home as being in the Hamilton (Flamborough) area. It has been built in phases, with the middle part being the main portions of the home being the first 2 on the left, the addition to the far right, seems to have been a bedroom – the exterior walls and doors were still very evident.

The house has been visited many a time, looks like it has been squatted in a few times as well. The house has open access (I believe in not committing not committing a B&E when I urbex lol). There are a few interesting finds in this home, which appears to have been abandoned in/or about 2007 based on the last height measurements on the kitchen/living room door frame (not confirmed). Some cool finds … interesting wallpaper on the walls, a Sovereign piano – Toronto – made exclusively for J. Faskin McDonald, Hamilton, Ont. I only found 1 article containing Mr. J. Faskin McDonald., it was in the Music Trades, Volume 58, he was part of “Hamilton’s Music Men”, and a really nice antique dresser – actually I had this exact dresser back in the day …. oh and the oddest thing I found was a dated pair of men’s dress shoes and Christian Dior men’s dress shirt …

Property #2

This property is an early twentieth century (c.1905), two-and a-half storey brick house that exhibits Queen Anne elements such as a high, wide and asymmetrical form, a steep pitch with multiple rooflines that are both hip and gable. Decorative scalloped shingling and a semi-circle window are present on the north elevation gable. Plain lintels are located above the windows and a plain cornice encircles the roofline. A wrap around verandah wrap is located on the north and west elevation. An exterior brick chimney is located on the east and south elevation. The barn complex which was located to the north of the house was demolished in 2015. Two gable roofed outbuildings remain to the north and south of the structure – I only saw one and it was filled with junk.

The property is formerly the Robert Emery Hall farmstead and milk house, and was known as Auburn Farm. The property is listed on the town’s Heritage List – approved November 2016 as a heritage landscape comprising of a farmhouse and barns in a traditional farmstead setting. 

Not sure how this house fits into the “heritage” perspective. The house is ransacked and appears to have been vacant since about 2007 – that’s the last calendar in the house – December 2007. The house with a 70’s/80’s feel kitchen is heavily vandalized. The cool thing about this home is that there is a servant’s quarters in the rear with a rear staircase leading from the quarters to the kitchen, bypassing the main bedrooms.

Property #3

The house itself has been abandoned and boarded up. Much of the original landscaping surrounding the property has been removed.

There was entry access at one point, but appears to have been recently re-boarded – we were unable to enter the house, and that’s ok. The standing barn was wide open, we were able to investigate there. The property is listed on the Heritage List as of November 2016 as a heritage landscape comprising of a farmhouse and barns in a traditional farmstead setting.

IMG_4531

Stay tuned! More urbexing coming soon …. If you’re an urbexer out there – comment below.

Urbex: Exploring a Well Known Meat Processing Plant!

This weekend I did another awesome urban explore at an old abandoned factory in town.  I’m not gonna share the exact location. You may think it’s ridiculous to not share the location of a place you’ve explored. It is an abandoned building after all, what’s the big deal?  The reason I don’t share location information with just anyone is that urban explorers aren’t the only ones that will see and visit that place. If you openly advertise the address of an abandoned building, you’re inviting just about anyone on the internet to go visit. The only things I like to take are photos.  

The plant on the day of closing

This urbex had a personal feel to it for me. Not only is it a well known and loved staple in the core of my hometown, the very first house I ever bought in 1999 was right across the street from the plant (like 200m away). The smell of BBQ would waft over our yard every afternoon for the 2 years we lived there, sometimes if the air wasn’t moving – it sat thick and heavy.

Living so close to a factory can have its moments – I recall being awaken in the middle of the night by a police officer knocking at the door, asking us to evacuate as there was a leak at the plant. I assumed it was an ammonia leak from one of the AC or refrigeration units. Hundreds of workers on the night shift were also evacuated while firefighters contained the leak. We returned home the next morning, opting to not rewake the kids from their sleeps at nana’s.

You can watch the YouTube video of this urbex here. This well known Canadian founded the company in 1886 after injuring his hand on the job at the Dominion Button Works factory. Unable to work, he and his wife began making sausages which they sold door-to-door, which they kept up after he was able to return to work. The recipe was based on one his mother used for pork sausage. He later expanded (in 1924) operation into a butchering service and retail store next to his home. Built in the 1890’s, it was constructed to look like a home in case the business failed – the location was then on the outskirts of the town which was then called Berlin. The company grew and survived the Great Depression, becoming one of the largest meat producers in Canada. It specialized in wieners, luncheon meat, sausages, pepperettes and other forms of specialty and delicatessen meats for generations, and was the first company in Canada to introduce vacuum packaging.

The landmark plant’s 125 years of history came to an end in February 2015 as the very last pack of bologna rolled off the line and was celebrated by teary-eyed employees …. the last 97 of those years were at the mammoth, oft-expanded facility … only 3.5 years after Maple Leaf Foods announced it was closing the aging factory, cutting 1,200 jobs. Workers in hard hats and blue coveralls crowded around the final production run to watch their plant fade into history. The plant was simply too inefficient, too landlocked and too old to modernize.

The property southwest of the downtown core sat vacant for 3 years before it was announced that Auburn Developments purchased it.  The development firm plans to transform the 27.6 acres into a new mixed use neighbourhood.  The building itself went through a 6-month decommissioning process.

They’ve demolished the waste water treatment facility, the powerhouse, and the entire processing plant, leaving the warehouse and office for mixed used commercial offices/retail space. Finalized concepts offer a range of housing forms and densities on the site along with some office, commercial space and parks and green space.  The redevelopment will add 2,800 homes and 11 buildings to the site. Construction of The Metz development is expected to start this June and continue for the next 10 years. The plant’s history to the city and its legacy will live on in the names of some of the streets in the new development.

More urbex coming your way soon!!

What are some of your fave spots to explore? Comment below!