Dawson House in Chesley, Ontario

So far I haven’t found an update for this house. It was put up for sale by the municipality in 2013. I found it on Google Street View but the images are from 2013, so no clue there.

It had been a museum at one time, the Chesley Heritage and Woodworking Museum. Most if it seems to be rental units now. Old buildings tend to deteriorate faster as rental units. (My brother has lived that experience with an old house he bought in Orillia).

Here are images of the Dawson house, in Chesley, from Google Maps. There are stained glass windows still remaining on most of the first floor windows. There is a mysterious bell at one side of the front of the buiding. If the town had to give up on it, there must be a lot of expensive work needed. But, it will be a shame to see this place fall down around itself.

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The Old House on the 3rd Line?

I drive by this old house about once a month on the way to visiting my brother in Orillia. It’s wasn’t an abandoned house but old and houses close to a highway interest me. They show how the roadways have progressed.

Yesterday I drove by and I had a triple look because (I’m still not 100% sure) the house was gone. I could see a wire fence around the area, over the driveway. But, there was no sign of the house. There is a chance I just missed it but, I can’t think of anything else there with a driveway. I hope I’m wrong and the house is still there. Not that it’s going to last forever but I will be sorry to see it not there any more.

These images are screen captures from Google. I never stopped to take a photograph of the house. I just thought it would continue to be there.

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Rosemary Hasner – Ontario Rural Ruins in Art

These images are based on photographs of Ontario rural locations, some abandoned but some just old and interesting.  Mixed media photography. I like the images with the postal marks on them. A personal thing from all the years I wrote penpal letters and still really like vintage postcards. But, my favourite of all of these is the one with the plain wooden house and all the greenery in the foreground.  I like the look of it, much less spooky than the other images. I think it has a touch of fantasy and is more interesting because it’s less forbidding and doom and gloom.

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Via – Rosemary Hasner at Black Dog Creative Arts.

Save Ontario Shipwrecks

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Save Ontario Shipwrecks is a Provincial Heritage Organization in Ontario dedicated to the study, preservation and promotion of an appreciation of Ontario’s marine heritage. Incorporated in 1981, SOS is a public charitable organization of dedicated volunteers from across the Province. Operating mainly through a group of Local Chapter Committees supported by a Provincial Board of Directors and Provincial Executive, our volunteers have undertaken many worthwhile projects and activities.

Source: About | Save Ontario Shipwrecks

Nottawasaga Lighthouse

I had this on my mental list of places to see already. It isn’t that far away. Another place to see and photograph before it’s gone.

Nottawasaga Lighthouse one of National Trust for Canada’s Top 10 Endangered Places.

Erected in 1858, the Nottawasaga Lighthouses was one of six Imperial Towers built to light the shores of Lake Huron and Georgian Bay. The whitewashed limestone light rises 95 feet above the shore, guiding ships to safety in Collingwood Harbour. It played an important part in the establishment of safe navigation routes along the coastal waters of Lake Huron following the opening of the Bruce Peninsula.

Deemed unsafe, the lighthouse was decommissioned in 2003 after an engineering study noted that the lighthouse’s exterior masonry, which had been damaged by lightning strikes and subsequent water infiltration, was at risk of collapse. A year later, a portion of the masonry crumbled. Though the Department of Fisheries and Oceans invested $400,000 to stabilize the remaining façade starting in 2005, it has since been abandoned and, without swift action, is unlikely to survive many more winters.

Source: Nottawasaga Lighthouse | The National Trust for Canada

The Maple Farms Motel

maple farms motelsignI’m meeting my Uncle for lunch tomorrow. I looked up the restaurant on Google Maps to see how to drive there. I checked the street view and found this abandoned motel almost across the street.

It may already be demolished. Google’s images were not very recent. The motel was boarded up and behind a construction fence. The area is loaded with new strip/ box stores so quite likely the motel won’t last long if it is still there at all.

See No Pattern Required – Friendship Inn Maple Farms Motel – Road Trip To The Past for images of the motel taken from a brochure in the 1970’s.

Update – August, 2016

The hotel was gone. No sign it had ever been there at all.

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Source for the last photograph: Michael Helmer Photography

Postcard of a Demolished School

If you’re in Toronto you could find out the original address on Broadview and see what is built there now. If you aren’t in Toronto try Google Street View. Looks like it was replaced by a new school. It`s back in the trees on Street View so I`m not 100% sure.
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The imposing and grand architecture of the Queen Alexandria School on Broadview Avenue in Toronto is now gone from the landscape yet it is captured here on this vintage postcard for future generations. I believe the school was built around 1905 and demolished in the mid 1950s.

via – Queen Alexandria School Broadview Avenue TORONTO by TheOldBarnDoor

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The real challenge would be to see what (if anything) is left of the white house to the right in this colour postcard I found online.

Highway History Exploring

Ontario Road Map  – Road map collector. Site by Neal.

The King’s Highway – The history of Ontario’s King’s highways. Site by Cameron Bevers.

Ontario Highways – Site by Christopher J. Bessert, Cartographer, GIS Specialist, Highway Historian.

The Ontario Highwayman – Site by Chris Beach.

The King’s Highway Ends Site – Old site by Earl Andrew Washburn.

Ontario Road and Highways – Yahoo group (active).

Asphalt Planet – Ontario, Quebec and US road history and photographs. Site by Scott Steeves.

Historic Roads – Dedicated to the identification, preservation and management of historic roads. Site by Paul Daniel Marriott & Associates. Washington, DC.

Historic Bridges – North American bridges.  (Ontario link). Site by Nathan Holth.

misc.transport.roads – Google Groups.

Have you found a lost road and photographed it?

They aren’t that tough to come across. Read local history to find where routes were changed. Not every road grew into a bigger road, some were bypassed and forgotten. Those are the old roads to look for, or to start with. As you find old roads you will soon find other old and forgotten roads. Bridges too.

What about dead ends, do they count as a lost road or not?

Meanwhile, the links above will get you started with your own research and exploring.

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Information for Highway Explorers

I found some US highway history.  Likely the information will be similar for Ontario and Canadian highways and roads but… that will be another post. So far I found a lot of Canadian (and Ontario specific) resources but I haven’t done the research yet.

Prior to the Federal Interstate Highway system, the United States was criss-crossed by roads built by for profit groups. During the 1920s many of these roads could barely be called roads as they were more mud, dirt and ditches than road. But, as Henry Ford continued to churn out automobiles, more and more of these state highways popped up across the landscape. Most of these roads followed old trails or Transcontinental Trails like the Oregon and Santa Fe. One of the first transcontinental highways was the Lincoln Highway from New York to San Francisco. It was a rock road and privately financed; Henry Ford wanted nothing to do with it because he thought roads and highways should be funded by the government. As the 1920s progress other groups formed to build and promote their own highways. By 1925, there were over 250 named highways, each with their own colored signs, names, and random sign placement. Without government oversight, many of these roads were re-routed into cities so that the clubs and groups that built them could profit from them.

In the midst of this chaos, the Federal government got involved in 1924 and started numbering all of these roads. Odd numbers ran North to South with the numbers increasing from East to West, and Even numbers run East to West with the numbers increasing from North to South. So, U.S. Route 1 runs along the Eastern Seaboard while U.S. Route 10 runs along the Canadian border.

When the Interstate Highways came along, the government decided to use the mirror image of the numbering system to avoid any confusion. Interstate 10 runs through the southern states while I-5 is in California. Thankfully, the government was wise enough to help avoid the classic “How could you get us lost?” fight between drivers and map readers. Where the two systems, the routes and the Interstates, meet in the middle of the country it was decided that there would be no Interstate 50 to avoid confusion with U.S. Route 50 which runs from Sacramento, CA to Ocean City, MD. This is the same for Interstate 60.

via –  9 Things You May Not Know About the U.S. Interstate Highways | From The Kitchen Cabinet

When the Interstate Highway Act was passed, most Americans thought it was a good idea. But when construction started and people, especially in urban areas, were displaced and communities cut in half, some started to revolt. In the 1960s, activists stopped construction on highways in New York, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., and New Orleans, which resulted in several urban interstates becoming roads to nowhere.

The red, white, and blue shields used to designate interstate numbers are trademarked by the American Association of State Highway Officials. The original design for the shield was drawn by senior traffic engineer Richard Oliver of Texas and selected out of 100 entries in a national design competition in 1957.

A major concern during Eisenhower’s presidency was what the country would do in the event of a nuclear attack. One of the justifications for the building of the interstate system was its ability to evacuate citizens of major cities if necessary.

via – 10 Things You Might Not Know About the U.S. Interstate System | Mental Floss