Three Houses, Three Centuries, and a French Connection

Yesterday, being the beautiful day that it was, I went out for a walk. Oh sure, there were book sales and a fantastic brunch at the Rochester Pub, but there was sunshine and a million things to shoot. To say the least, the case was successfully made for me to spring for a Juicepack. Here are three homes that I took shots of while on my walk, ordered from the Confederation era to today.

Nineteenth Century (c. 1867)

The MacLeod House, at the corner of Stanley and Union in New Edinburgh was constructed around 1867 by Dougal MacLeod, an employee of Thomas McKay.

Although there has been some disagreement as to the actual date this handsome stone home at 92 Stanley (at Union) in New Edinburgh, there is none that it’s a great representation of the earlier stone homes that were constructed in the community. As MacLeod purchased the lot from the McKay Estate in 1867, that date appears to be the accepted one now. Some sources have suggested c. 1850, however. According to the city directories available for the time, Dougal McLeod (also sometimes spelt “McCloud” and in later sources, “MacLeod”) was a miller and one time foreman in McKay’s New Edinburgh mills.

McLeod was a foreman, at least in 1868. Source: Sutherland's Ottawa City Directory, 1868.
McLeod was a foreman, at least in 1868. Source: Sutherland’s Ottawa City Directory, 1868.
Working as a miller. Source: Ottawa City Directory, 1883.
Working as a miller. Source: Ottawa City Directory, 1883.

As much as it may have been a solid middle-class existence, working in the mills was not without its own set of risks. McLeod passed away at 53 on April 25, 1883 due to the all-too-common occupational hazard of Stonecutters’ Disease of the Lungs (Silicosis). He was buried at the nearby Beechwood Cemetery.

Beechwood Cemetery register for Dugall McLeod. Notice that Stanley was then known as Rideau. Source: Beechwood Cemetery Internments, 1873-1990 (Ancestry.ca).
Beechwood Cemetery register for Dugall McLeod. Notice that Stanley was then known as Rideau. Source: Beechwood Cemetery Internments, 1873-1990 (Ancestry.ca).

Following the death of her husband, Jane McLeod moved into the smaller home behind. The house was then occupied by another McKay foreman named G.A. French.

Jane, Dougal's widow moved into the home just behind 92 Stanley (Rideau). Source: Ottawa City Directory, 1885.
Jane, Dougal’s widow moved into the home just behind 92 Stanley (Rideau). Source: Ottawa City Directory, 1885.
G.A. French moved into 92 Stanley (Rideau). Source: Ottawa City Directory, 1885.
G.A. French moved into 92 Stanley (Rideau). We will see later on in this story, a very similar name. Source: Ottawa City Directory, 1885.
Detail from the 1888 (1901 Revision) Goad's Atlas showing 92 Stanley and 34 Union. Following the death of her husband, Jane McLeod moved into the smaller wood-frame home behind her old home.
Detail from the 1888 (1901 Revision) Goad’s Atlas showing 92 Stanley and 34 Union. Following the death of her husband, Jane McLeod moved into the smaller wood-frame home behind her old home. Click to enlarge.

As New Edinburgh was in the early days of its sort of renaissance as the leafy and generally well-heeled neighbourhood that it is today (with the demolition of most non-residential elements being rapidly completed), the restoration and preservation of the MacLeod House was worthy of celebration. This piece from the March 21, 1970 edition of the Ottawa Journal gives a run down of the subsequent owners/occupants. It appears that it received its plaque in 1992.

A few minor inconsistencies with the records available today aside, it is a very nice story. Source: Ottawa Journal, March 21, 1970.
A few minor inconsistencies (it was his widow Jane who moved following his death, for example) with the records available today aside, it is a very nice story. Source: Ottawa Journal, March 21, 1970.

Twentieth Century (c. 1935)

Later on during the day, as I was making my way to the book sale at First Avenue Public School, I happened across this beautiful double on First Avenue.

This beautiful double at 386 First Avenue certainly caught my eye. April 2014.
This beautiful double at 386 First Avenue certainly caught my eye. April 2014.

Admittedly, I haven’t been able readily locate a specific date of construction or an architect/builder. The west end of The Glebe (along Bronson) underwent a construction boom beginning in the early-mid-1930s and a number of builders were present. What I was able to locate, however, was its first resident: the ever-popular Dominion Church organist, Allanson G.Y. Brown. Brown was born in York, UK in 1902 and arrived in Canada in 1932. As a young man in England, it was patently clear that he had a knack for ecclesiastical music, replacing his parish organist in York during the First World War.

Arriving on a Third Class ticket, Brown did not yet have a listed address. He was nevertheless, a man on a mission. His voyage to Canada was his own. As we can see, his parents remained in York Source: LAC RG 76-C, Passenger Lists 1865-1935 (at Ancestry.ca).
Arriving on a Third Class ticket, Brown did not yet have a listed address. He was nevertheless, a man on a mission. His voyage to Canada was his own. As we can see, his parents remained in York Source: LAC RG 76-C, Passenger Lists 1865-1935 (at Ancestry.ca).

 

Brown's parents could have come to Canada but chose to remain in York at this home at 23 Stanley Street. Source: Google Streetview (Image Date: April 2012).
Brown’s parents could have come to Canada but chose to remain in York at this home at 23 Stanley Street. Source: Google Streetview (Image Date: April 2012).

It appears that Brown was quite a frequent traveller back to to the United Kingdom. A number of records documenting his entries and exits are available at Ancestry.ca. If I were less frugal, I’d have sprung for the global access package, rather than the Canada-only one that I have.

By the time he returned from another trip in 1935, he had an address to list. Source:
By the time he returned from another trip in 1935, he had an address to list. Source: LAC RG 76-C, Passenger Lists 1865-1935 (at Ancestry.ca).

Shortly after his arrival in 1932, he set down to work as the organist at Dominion United Church.

Brown made is debut that fall. Source: Ottawa Journal, October 15, 1932.
Brown made is debut that fall. Source: Ottawa Journal, October 15, 1932.

Of course, that was not going to pay all the bills, nor was it going to challenge him musically. The following year, he also began to offer lessons “keen students.”

"Only Keen Students Needed." Source: Ottawa Journal, September 2, 1933.
“Only Keen Students Needed.” Source: Ottawa Journal, September 2, 1933.

After nearly eight years of service, he was elected as the chairman of the Ottawa Centre branch of the Canadian College of Organists.

Meet your new chairman. Source: Ottawa Journal, April 8, 1940.
Meet your new chairman. Source: Ottawa Journal, April 8, 1940.

Brown remained in Ottawa until the mid-1950s when he departed for Leamington, ON. His arrangements would actually go on to be used in services all over the continent.

For example, one was used in San Bernadino, California. Source: San Bernadino County Sun, June 15, 1957.
For example, one was used in San Bernadino, California. Source: San Bernadino County Sun, June 15, 1957.
...and in Fitchberg, Massachusetts. Source: Fitchberg Sentinel, December 21, 1963.
…and in Fitchberg, Massachusetts. Source: Fitchberg Sentinel, December 21, 1963.

He also won a number of prizes and accolades for his work.

$100 from Trinity Presbyterian in Atlanta, Georgia. Source: Ottawa Journal, January 25, 1969.
$100 from Trinity Presbyterian in Atlanta, Georgia. Source: Ottawa Journal, January 25, 1969.
Recognition for 60 years as an organist. Source: Ottawa Journal, May 10, 1975.
Recognition for 60 years as an organist. Source: Ottawa Journal, May 10, 1975.

 

Twenty-first Century (2010)

203 North River Road is a real modern beauty. April 2014.
203 North River Road is a real modern beauty. And an award winner to boot. April 2014.

In the spirit of acknowledging that the privacy standards we operate on today are significantly different than they were in the past, I will refrain from the sort of discussion above. I will say that this modern home, constructed about four years ago is a real beauty and I appreciate it greatly every time I happen to walk past. In this case, it was on Saturday morning on my way to the Rockcliffe Park Library’s annual spring book sale. Always a real treat.

Excerpt from the December 2009 issue of Ottawa Construction News.
Excerpt from the December 2009 issue of Ottawa Construction News.

This is where a little bit of the historical fun comes in. Building Permit No. 907454 was issued in 2009 for the construction of a home at 203 North River Road. The contractor on the file was the award-winning G.M. (Guy) French Construction. If you’ll remember from above, following the death of Dougal McLeod, one G.A. French took up residence in the home at 92 Stanley. Before the Vanier Parkway was completed, North River used to be joined with Charlevoix and Mackay and was the road into New Edinburgh from Hurdman’s.

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