Tuesday, March 3, 2009

House History

Our house was once owned by Carleton University, one of the two universities located in Ottawa (see http://www.carleton.ca/). We've found the records at the Ottawa Land Registry office showing when the house was sold from it's original owner to the organization that eventually became Carleton. They owned the property from 1948 until 1959. We know they modified the original coach house, expanding it to accomodate a large classroom and they also built two more classrooms in a single-level concrete structure beside the coach house. That's all we really know about their use of our house. There is a vague reference on the history of Carleton webpage that mentions that they bought three neighbourhood homes in the area of their main building (the old Ottawa Ladies College, which is now a posh condo development) and used the homes for some classes and for student offices.

After speaking to a friend of ours who is a professor at Carleton, I decided to contact the University of Carleton Archives and ask for more information. So, I navigated over to their website and found this photo on their main photo exhibit page (Photograph courtesy of Archives and Research Collections, Carleton University Library, used with permission):

What a surprise it was to find a picture of our house! This was likely taken in the late 1940's. If you look closely, you can see a small sign centered at the top of the front porch, likely displaying the name of the College.

I contacted the head of the archives and an archives technician is pulling together anything they can find relating to the property for us. In particular, we asked for information about what they used the house for (classes or departments that were located at the house), and any information about the structures they built and other modifications. They are going to go through some of the photos that were taken of social events as well and see if any reference our house. It will probably take a week or two, but when they get back to us, I'll post more.

The picture of the house shows what the original windows looked like. It also shows that the concrete porch was in place at that time; we weren't sure if it might have been added at a later date. I doubt that the concrete porch is original to the house, but it's been there since at least the late 1940s. It also appears that the driveway is on the right side of the house, since the left side (where the coach house is at the back) is all grassy. Other than the replaced front windows, the house looks pretty much the same as today.


  1. What a great find! Is "congratulations" an appropriate sentiment for someone who finds out something fascinating in their house's history? Even if not, congratulations!

  2. Thanks! We heard back from the archives group. They send us a bunch of photographs and excerpts from the course calendars and yearbooks that reference our house. I'll do a follow-up post shortly. Our house even featured in a cartoon in the student newspaper!