Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Historic Properties Information

Whether on vacation or close to home, it is rewarding to research and visit historical properties in your area.  Fortunately, due to the hard work of dedicated community volunteers, professional historians, and those in government there are great resources to do this in your community.  A good starting place is to the Canada's Historic Places website.  To start your search use the Search tab at the top of the page, and then on the subsequent page just enter a province and town/city on the right and press the search button (there are other options including type of building/activity or entering the first three characters of the Canadian postal code, for example).  For Sackville, NB when I searched on Jan. 2, 2012 this generated a listing of 51 places.  Each has a link with detailed information.  When you click on an item in the list a red icon will appear on the map (e.g. in the accompanying image I selected Tonge's Island National Historic site. A useful book, available as a free pdf written by Environment Canada Parks Service, is The Buildings of Canada.  This provides sketches of different architectural styles for houses, churches, barns and more, and will help you to spot historically important structures not yet in the website (coverage across the country is quite variable). The good folks at the Tantramar Heritage Trust have made the job even easier for those in the Sackville, NB area.  From their website a selection of Tantramar Historic Sites will show them on a map, along with images and detailed descriptions of each.  One feature I particularly like is that they provide a list that is divided by century, which makes it easy, for example, to find 19th century architecture.  While a number of the entries are naturally enough historic locations, churches and institutional buildings, and commercial buildings, there are a large number of residential homes in the list as well.  In the next posting of this blog I will tell you about a historic Sackville house that is for sale right now.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Why I started this blog.

I want to first stress that I am not a real estate agent (I am in fact a physics professor, a photographer and a writer - if you want to read more check out chignecto.ca/rhawkes).  I have always found real estate listings interesting, and the stories that houses have to tell. I still remember the sunny day when we took occupancy of our first home (in St. Stephen, NB, near the border with the USA).  We had always lived in small one bedroom apartments (first as married graduate students, then for our first couple of years of working) and to finally own property was so exciting.  To have a house with big maples lining the driveway, and not only a house but a bunch of adjoined buildings (it had been initially a bakery we were told, and more recently a pottery studio).  While we never met any of the previous occupants of our home, we did learn snippets about them, and about our home's history.  It is too bad that houses don't always have logs, and people write in them for future occupants to know the people who once lived there.  Anyway, back to this blog....  Sort of on a whim, I decided to start a blog about interesting homes in the New Brunswick area.  I expect that most of them will be from the Sackville area, that has been my home for more than 30 years, or the Bay of Fundy region (we own a cottage in Alma NB).  I am not sure how often there will be postings.  If you find something I write interesting, please do leave a comment, or if something needs correction or you have more information to add.  I do write a few other blogs, on different topics, including one on the Bay of Fundy region.  My most popular blog, that has garnered more than 12,000 reads in less than a year from typically 65 different countries each month, is devoted to science apps for the iPad and iPhone.  If you want to give that a read it can be found here. Anyway, I hope you will enjoy, and do feel free to drop me an email if you have suggestions for future posts, or just to express opinions on anything you read here.  Writers on the topic of the houses of Atlantic Canada please feel free to invite me to review your book here.

Live in the home built for a prime minister for less than $100k!

Image courtesy Jennifer Jones
I find reading real estate listings interesting, even if I am not looking to buy or to sell real estate.  When I was looking over the listings in my home town of Sackville recently I came across the following very interesting line in the sale for a modestly priced (just under $100k) home that recently came on the market "The home was originally built for R.B. Bennett, our 11th Prime Minister of Canada."  If you want to read the complete listing check out this linkR. B. Bennett is one of Canada's lesser known former prime ministers, serving from 1930 to 1935 during the depths of the Great Depression.  Several books have been written about him, including one entitled Bennett: The Rebel who Challenged and Changed a Nation.  Among the many ideas that Bennett proposed during a relatively brief period as prime minister are progressive income tax, minimum wage, employment standards for number of working hours, and unemployment insurance (all part of his so called New Deal).  A New Brunswick teen is currently promoting the idea of a statue to R. B. Bennett, and has a petition to promote that cause. The R. B. Bennett name is most usually associated with Albert County (the Albert County Museum in Hopewell Cape has a considerable section on him, and the family still own an estate in Alma).  I was interested to learn that he also had an association with my home town of Sackville. Well known local historian, Dr. Bill Hamilton, tells some of the story of the association of the Bennett's with New Brunswick in a column available online. If you are interested in purchasing the property, contact Jennifer Jones (no not the one of curling fame!) by completing the form found here.  Jennifer Jones is a realtor with Royal LePage Metro. She has a superb virtual tour of the house up, if you want to have a look.  If seriously interested in purchase of the property, I am sure she would love to hear from you (her phone number is 506-229-7000).  The house is listed on the MLS system.