Friday, 29 January 2016

Stones & Numbers, Saving the Featherstone Farmhouse

The Featherstone Farmhouse was originally constructed by pioneer farmer's William and Alexis Featherstone on a parcel of land some 200 acres in size.  They had purchased this property in 1837, and after putting considerable work into clearing it for farming, constructed the stone home as seen in my sketch in 1861.  In 1885, they sold the property and it was purchased by Emerson Featherstone.  Subsequently, it was passed down to his son Charles Ernest Featherstone, and then in turn to his son Sheldon Amos Featherstone, who was the Town Clerk of Oakville.  Under Sheldon's ownership along with his wife Anna Grace, he began to sell off the majority of the acreage, retaining only a small amount for the purpose of their own farming interests.  In 2007, Sheldon's daughter-in-law, Beatrice Grace sold the remainder of the property.  The house sat empty and forlorn for a number of years before the purchasers and developers came up with a new purpose for it within the plan of a new subdivision.  The home itself had fallen into disrepair, but it's stone structure - an impressive 18" inches thick - was in amazing condition.  It was imperative to try and save or salvage it somehow.  It is in fact one of the very last remaining five bay early Victorian cottages rendered in stone remaining here in Halton County.  A plan was formed.  Each stone was painstakingly numbered, and the home was dismantled and the stones put into storage.  At the same time, a plan showing the location of each was created so that the home could be carefully re-assembled.  Because of the sheer thickness of the stones, the back portion of each block was trimmed down so that the structure when reassembled would fit into current building codes.  Although the interior floorpan doesn't match the original footprint, the very fact that so much care was taken to preserve the building is a great testament to the integrity of the developers.  The house and the park beside which it sits is so named for the Featherstone Family as they were it's most continuous residents from 1885 to 2007.  Although the home was moved from it's original spot on the bank of Sixteen Mile Creek, it now commands a stately presence on Coates Drive.

Each stone was painstakingly numbered and logged on a chart

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