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June 20, 2011

Help Save Gordon House in Penetanguishene

Pam Tessier sent the following urgent message regarding preservation of a historical house in Penetanguishene, Simcoe County Ontario

A bit of historical background.........

 Located at 12 Water Street in Penetanguishene is the building commonly referred to as "The George Gordon House". A plain, white stuccoed, one and a half storied, cedar log house, it is said to be the first home built in the town.

George Gordon was a fur trader and in the west prior to the War of 1812. He was a witness to the seige of Michilimackinac and was in Sault Ste. Marie when it was burnt by the Americans. The house Gordon built shortly after he arrived in Penetanguishene in 1825 still stands and is lived in today. The age of the house may make it one of the oldest in Simcoe County, perhaps even Ontario. The fact that it is still lived in certainly makes it unique. It is local lore that the first Roman Catholic mass was said in this house, shortly after the arrival of the Drummond Islanders in 1828/29.

But we have a problem. The owner is an elderly lady who has had to vacate the house and is presently in hospital. Where ownership goes from here is difficult to determine, but if the house is to be saved, not just for her descendants but all the townspeople and their descendants, action has to be taken now. Heritage Penetanguishene, a council appointed committee, has not designated it as a "property of interest" and they are reluctant to designate the house a historical property because it has had stucco applied to the exterior.

We would like to work with them to have this historically valuable house declared not just a place of interest but eventually an official historical property. Here it sits, part of our history and totally unprotected from bulldozers or neglect.

We need your help! A few years ago when we hosted the Simcoe Branch of the Ontario Genealogical Society, I was approached about the preservation of this house by a number of people who were Gordon descendants . If there is enough interest shown by the public, we may be able to persuade Heritage Penetanguishene to move quickly on the designation.

If you are interested in seeing this landmark preserved, please join the Committee to Save the Gordon House by contacting Pam Tessier at: Numbers matter and we do have a voice!

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