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Demolition of historic, now derelict home, set to begin

21-bridge-street-hepburn-brosDemolition of the abandoned structure at 21 Bridge Street, Picton is set to begin Monday.

Minor traffic delays are to be expected around the Bridge and Mortimer streets area for about three days.

Presumed to be built for residential use in the mid-1800s, the building is noted historically due to its connection to the Hepburn brothers, who built a large shipping fleet and wharf in Picton Harbour.

It was the office of the Hepburn Brothers, descendants of Arthur W. Hepburn, who was also a timber and coal merchant. He acquired the Bay of Quinte Steamboat Company from his father-in-law James S. McCuaig and several of Hepburn’s ships – including the Empress of India and the Alexandria – carried passengers between Montreal, Rochester and Trenton.

The building was extensively inspected in June by Ernie Margetson, engineer and leading authority on the subject of Prince Edward County architecture. (corrected)

In his report to the planning department, Margetson noted that the use of ‘rowlock’ bond construction, apparently rare in Ontario, found some favour in Picton, perhaps due to a mason that advocated this type of construction. He noted the original block of the house has been degraded and compromised by lack of maintenance and earlier alterations an the roof has leaked for some time, degrading the rafters and second level. There is no original millwork left.

His review presented to council, he stated the building “has reached the time when salvage, even without contemplation of restoration, does not seem feasible. Much of the original fabric and composition has been lost or disfigured an the lack of maintenance in keeping the elements out has left the building in a state where it has become dangerous and unsightly…. It is regrettable to remove this building and the associated link with the history attached to it, but it is the conclusion of this review that the building has reached a time when it is reasonable to not object to the application to demolish.”

Coverage was removed by the insurance company in 2013 as the building had been condemned and ordered for demolition.

Heritage documentation and recording of any intact features on the interior and exterior of the building have been completed. The municipality will also seek to re-establish the street wall that would be in keeping with the character area of Bridge Street and noted the architecture should be complementary to the existing built form and the area’s heritage attributes.

In September, council approved the Major Heritage Permit required by Chris Rogers for demolition subject to conditions including the retention of trees until a new structure is approved, sodding of the site and erection of an interpretive plaque or landscape feature detailing the history of the site.

Filed Under: Local News

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  1. Fred Flinstone says:

    So did the taxpayer pay for this fellow to tell us what we all knew? Knock it down! If so how much?

  2. kevin says:

    Why is the county flipping the bill? What about the property owner?

  3. Susan says:

    It was very obvious it was toast. You can’t save every old building. And for those saying it a lesson to the community to properly maintain, let them put up the money instead of laying it on the owners. Property rights are being whittled away. If the taxpayer had to pay the bill for this dump to be assessed something is wrong.

  4. I can’t think why , this needed can an expert opinion . It’s been derelict since Vic Alan Died., and it was not. In great shape then…

    Just because a building is old , it does not necessarily mean it was well built.

  5. Brent Kleinsteuber says:

    While it is a shame to see another historic site lost in the County, I agree with Mr. Margetson’s assessment of the building. Hopefully this will be a lesson in not leaving things until it’s too little too late.

  6. Theresa Durning says:

    As much as I hate to see this building disappear, I am comfortable with Mr. Margetson’s assessment of the structure. Too late for this piece of history but a lesson for the community to properly maintain those buildings that remain in the historic inventory.

  7. Susan says:

    Beraucracy at it’s finest. We need to pay for an expert opinion. Obviously to most anyone it needs to come down! And if it was found salvageable who was paying for it? Back on the owners lap being told what they can and cannot do with their own property.

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