The William Fogler House

Going, going…gone!

The Fogler House of 106 Bruton Street Port Hope was never known as a heritage style house and thus was never designated as such.  She was a common ‘salt box’ style farm house on what is now a lovely tree lined street with homes of every description and age.

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Fogler House was built with a fieldstone and mortar basement with only a crawl-space under the main two storey house and a full basement under the one storey addition on the north side.  Double brick was used to construct the ten feet high walls on both floors.  There were no two-by-four studs used on the exterior interior walls, which is unheard of today!  One by two inch slats of wood were nailed vertically, directly to the brick to hold up the interior lath and plaster!

All brick used were the rare ‘Port Hope’ type manufactured in a brickyard just south/east of the Ontario St/401 overpass near where the Ranger’s apartment building is now located.

Although there is no official paper work on her birth, it is estimated she was erected circa 1850. Few of the neighbors ever knew she had a name.   Her name came from a long-time owner and market gardener William Fogler who once farmed over two acres of land here.

William toiled for many years as a file maker at the defunct Nicholson File Factory on Cavan Street.  In his spare time apples and other fruit trees were grown.  Many varieties of vegetables and flowers were also grown for the local farmer’s market located at the Town Hall where the market is still active today!

On this property were once located two barns.  A smaller barn known as ‘the carpenter’s shed’ was yes, used by Old Bill for woodworking and also contained a chicken coop and a hog sty.  Even into the early 1990’s there was evidence of wire fence ‘runs’ for the ‘free-range’ critters running down the north ravine to Yeovil Street.  The larger two-storey barn was utilized for a couple of horses, fire wood, hay and the ‘outhouse’!

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The old carpenter’s shed

To you youngsters reading this post, the ‘outhouse’ was the toilet and it was still used by Bill’s aging widow Martha until the late sixties.  Because of the perilous climb up the stairs to the indoor bathroom on the second floor Martha would only reluctantly use it during the winter.

Some rare and delightful artifacts that had been recovered from the old barn over the years was a 1945 Simpson’s Spring & Summer “We Must All Serve For Victory…Buy War Savings Certificates” catalogue.  Also found was ‘A Town of Port Hope Miscellaneous, Alphabetical and Business Directory phone book’ from 1945 (price twenty five cents).

Bill’s old one-horse garden plough was found and re-purposed for years as an attractive lawn ornament.  A favorite find has to be a 1917 ‘G.A. OUTRAM Port Hope…Phone 5’ hardware calendar still intact!

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The old barn

Fogler House was rare in that it never had a fireplace like most other homes of its time.  It was heated by wood/coal stoves located in the living and dining room.  Stove pipes ran up through the second floor to the ceiling chimneys, providing a secondary heat source throughout the four, ten feet- high ceiling bedrooms upstairs.  A wood/coal range, costing $49.95, according to the 1945 Simpson’s catalogue provided cooking and heat for the kitchen.

At the front door on the east wall was a winding oak open staircase to the second floor.  A hall ran parallel to the staircase to a large dining room.  Inside the front door on the left was the entrance to a grand living room.  From the dining room on the left was the door to a fifth bedroom or parlour.   To the north of the dining room was the entrance to the kitchen, basement and back door to the huge yard.

On Martha’s demise, the property was passed to William’s immediate family and later on to his granddaughter and her family.  Bill’s two great grandsons David and Mark were born and raised at 106.

Late 2012 was to mark the end of this grand old house, as a result of a marriage break-up she was sold to new owners.

After 150 years of existence the last owner of the old home, Ranger closed and locked the front door for the last time.

The outbuildings were removed immediately.  The last two (of nine) chestnut trees planted by Old Bill along the west property line were next to go.  One of Bill’s two giant walnut trees had to go because it was dying but the other was severely trimmed and can still be seen on the east side of the property.

After sitting vacant for two years the old house was also removed to make way for a proposed large new home and studio for local artists.  Two years later the empty lot has been resold, rumor has it the new owner is an architect.  It would be appropriate to see a grand home finally built on this beautiful lot.

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From Northumberland News Today, Oct. 22, 2013:

“As the old house was about to be razed, thanks to the many local neighbours vocal displeasure and a construction crew’s great idea, it was decided to dismantle it instead…”    Its fate was sealed!

“All aluminum waste was sent to a local scrap yard.  Thousands of patio paving stones were salvaged and foundation stones used for landscaping projects.  The roof boards and rafters and other lumber will be re-used by the contractor as will the antique Victorian front door.  The two by twelve inch floor boards were remanufactured into window sashes with modern thermal glass and weather-stripping, some for use in an old Centreton school renovation.

The majority of the bricks were saved for a preservation project in the historical Distillery District in Toronto and for the front of a Walton Street building’s restoration”.

Even the front porch was dismantled and still lives on somewhere in Port Hope.  An exact duplicate in a smaller version, can still be seen on a house at the N/W corner of Hill St. North and Clayton’s Lane.

At the time of this post (May/2016) sadly, one of the largest building lots (approx. 200 x 200 ft.)  in Port Hope is still vacant.

Regards,  Ranger.

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