Innisfil Agrarian

Recent stirrings of Spring in Simcoe County had roused me from my hiemal hibernation to once again go out and explore area rural abandonments.

The two farmhouses explored, located in Innisfil, had been previously visited by fellow explorers 'Megs' in January of 2005, and latter by 'faded_x', in February of 2006. What better way to chart the progress of deterioration and decay by a follow-up visit almost a year latter.

The first farmhouse appeared to have been constructed after a fashion in a Gothic Revival style which featured an arched Gothic window set in a gabled dormer wreathed in simple gingerbread bric-a-brac.

The exterior consisted of a plain coursed ashlar masonry interrupted only by lintels at the front of the building which suggested a certain frugality during construction.

Given the odd cross gabled roof intersection, I strongly suspect an addition not long after the original construction as the building materials appear to be virtually the same.

Entry to the house was hazardous at best due to a hungry basement which was slowly consuming the main floor.

Here in the washroom, just off the kitchen, it appeared that the shower stall is about to slip into the basement as well.

Looking at the peeling ceiling paint in the kitchen, one can almost imagine a large insect shedding its skin or an autumn tree ready to sheds its leaves.

Among the various debris and relics scattered in the kitchen was this amber moonshine jug with a copy of the 'Cookstown Informer', some now unknown local newsletter.

As the stairs to second floor was completely inaccessible, I decided to set the timer on my camera and stick it (on top of my tripod) through a hole in the ceiling.

The result - this elegantly appointed bedroom . . . eat your heart out Travelodge

As this was a working farm 'back in the day', I then decided to set out to find the obligatory pile of old tires and used oil . . . I was not disappointed.

Early farmers not only had to know husbandry and horticulture, they also were required to perform their own mechanical repairs as evidenced by this pile of hardware curios which did not quite make it into the driving shed.

The second farmhouse visited was immediately recognised as being constructed for a far more affluent farming family. This two-story cross-gabled Quuen Ann Styled structure featured intricate decorative brickwork.

Each corner of the house included attractive faux quoins and each window, embellished segmental pediments. Long covered porches were provided at the front and side of the house. The second floor also had a balconet which was crowned with a rounded arch of alternating coloured brick voussoirs.

A very large breach in the wall at the rear of the farmhouse provides us with a good view of this structure's superior assembly. This image clearly shows the solid masonry or 'double brick' construction of an inner and outer wythe.

It is doubtful that the wall(s) failed naturally as header bricks appeared to be solid and installed at least every 6th course.

More evidence of of solid construction was evident inside the front room which featured a masonry hearth. It was obvious that the hardwood flooring was scavenged. The exposed floors showed the massive wooden floor trusses.

The spacious dining room with its blue wainscoting, white walls are large windows suggested an almost Mediterranean environment.

A chair in the main floor hallway was sporting a retrolicious vinyl coat resplendent with funky patterns of brown, gold, and olive green.
The 1970's called while I was photographing this and asked for their chair back.

Upstairs, habitat-confused barn swallows had built several nests in the house.
Silly birds !

The days are numbered for these two very different and unique farmhouses. As this tangle of vines may analogously illustrate mother nature reclaiming what mankind wrought.

Please leave a comment.

1 comment:

CopySix said...

A brief addendum -

A good 'quick & easy' guide to architectural styles may be found at www.realtor.org/rmoarch.nsf/pages/archguide