Canada’s ‘Most Photographed House’ May Meet the Wrecking Ball


Perched along side a rustic street close to Lake Erie in southeastern Ontario, an uninhabited, partially collapsed Nineteenth-century farmhouse cuts an eerily elegant determine towards the wide-open sky and the corn, soybean and wheat fields that encompass it.

Through the years, the crumbling home, close to Palmyra, Ontario, has turn into a vacation spot for photographers like Cathie Wright, who visits the property each month and has taken tons of of photos of it, capturing it shrouded in snow or forged within the grey mild of an overcast sky.

“It’s acquired this dystopian appeal,” mentioned Ms. Wright, a retired skilled photographer and graphic artist from Ridgetown, Ontario. “I prefer to get the entire wide-angle impact of the cornfields going again. It provides to the isolation of it.”

However now, the home — so beloved by photographers that the Canadian information media has known as it Canada’s “most photographed house” — could should be demolished, despite the fact that the ravages of climate and time have taken it a lot of the method there.

In a decision issued final month, a property requirements committee within the native municipality of Chatham-Kent, gave the proprietor of the home, Peter Anderson, till Oct. 20 to tear it down except he takes steps to protect or defend it or brings it into compliance with native property legal guidelines.

The information has devastated Canadian photographers who see in the home the light grandeur of a bygone period in rural Ontario when farmers throughout the province lived in homes prefer it with wooden stoves, wells and no working water.

“I feel it’s a crying disgrace,” mentioned Michael Chase of Amherstburg, Ontario, the proprietor of Windsor Aerial Drone Pictures, who occurred to drive by the home on the best way again from an project in February and took a dramatic video of its ramshackle exterior.

“It must be designated as a historic website and saved to let it deteriorate naturally,” he mentioned. “It’s a vacationer attraction.”

However Paul Lacina, the chief constructing official for Chatham-Kent, mentioned that the home, often known as the Guyitt Home, was “past restore” and in an “unsafe situation.” One aspect has utterly collapsed and the construction is “collapsing into itself,” he mentioned.

There’s proof that youngsters have been inside, consuming and lighting small fires, he mentioned.

“It might fall down and, if somebody occurred to be trespassing, it might fall on them,” Mr. Lacina mentioned.

Mr. Anderson, whose grandparents, Roy and Ethel Guyitt, purchased the property in 1908, mentioned he felt unfairly focused by the tear-down order, which got here in response to an nameless citizen grievance that was despatched to native officers final 12 months.

He mentioned fixing the home could be extraordinarily tough given how dilapidated it’s, and that submitting a court docket problem could be pricey. However he indicated he was not prepared to look at as a chunk of his household’s historical past is destroyed.

He mused that he might put chickens inside and name it a hen coop.

“All I would like them to do is depart me alone,” mentioned Mr. Anderson, 71, a farmer who lives in Muirkirk, Ontario, and has posted a “no trespassing” signal outdoors the home.

“I can put up a fence,” he mentioned. “However depart me alone.”

He mentioned that whereas he appreciated how a lot pleasure the property has delivered to photographers, he was pissed off that extra of them had not come ahead to assist him reserve it.

“I really feel like a person on an island who’s begging for anyone to rescue him,” Mr. Anderson mentioned. “Cruise ships are going by, and folks have their cameras, they usually’re waving and speaking, however no person will come and rescue me.”

The 2-story farmhouse, throughout Lake Erie from Cleveland, Ohio, and about 95 miles east of Detroit and 160 miles southwest of Toronto, was most certainly constructed round 1840 to 1850, Mr. Anderson mentioned.

The home as soon as had a brick exterior, a chandelier within the parlor and a grand piano, he mentioned. The home windows nonetheless function ornamental scrollwork with hearts, circles and diamonds.

Mr. Anderson visited his grandfather and uncle there within the Nineteen Fifties and Sixties, when neighbors would come by to look at “Bonanza” or hockey video games on the tv. He inherited the property in 2003, lengthy after the final tenants had moved out within the Nineteen Eighties.

One of many causes it has turn into such a magnet for photographers is its location, about 200 toes off the Talbot Path, a rustic street that follows the shore of Lake Erie and is a well-liked route for scenic drives.

“You’re driving down that freeway and rapidly, it’s simply ‘increase’ there it’s: this creepy-looking home off the street, and it actually catches your eye,” mentioned Dave Conlon of Toronto, who posted a video of the home on his YouTube channel, Freaktography.

“Each time I cease,” Mr. Conlon mentioned, “a dozen persons are there, taking footage as a result of it’s such a singular roadside attraction.”

Mr. Anderson mentioned he loved the crowds. Ten or 12 folks had been photographing the home on Thursday, he mentioned, when he went there to unfold fertilizer.

“On Sundays, it’s limitless,” Mr. Anderson mentioned. “One comes, one goes. I can spend my entire day speaking to them.”

Ms. Wright, the photographer who has been documenting the home each month for years, mentioned that if the property should be destroyed, she want to be there to seize its remaining moments as a present for Mr. Anderson.

“I want to {photograph} the very finish,” Ms. Wright mentioned. “It could be a report shot.”

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