Earlier this week I visited with one of Bracebridge’s most noted historians, Mr. Ken Veitch. Mr. Veitch’s family along with the Shea’s has been in Muskoka for over a century and was one of the founding families of the town of Ufford just north of Bracebridge.
The house above, familiar to many who have driven to Windermere House, was one of the Veitch family homes. Ken’s grandparents lived in what was to become known as the “White House“. The “White House” was once only half the current size. Houses in the late nineteenth and early 20th centuries in rural and farming communities were built off of standard plans. This house is actually very similar to houses all over Muskoka and other parts of Ontario. It is strikingly similar on the exterior to the Fleger House in Uffington – even down to the teal trim. The difference here is that the “White House” has two peaks. Ken explains:
It has two peaks because it was originally two houses that were put together… Another house was picked up and moved to the one location.”
Ken said the old house used to have a porch under which he used to play as a child. I wonder if there are any toys beneath where it stood? I am planning a formal visit to the old house with Ken and the current owner, Bill Shea, later this Fall. I look forward to seeing this one up close. Some places, like the Fleger House, “Yellow Door” (Livingstone) House and St. Paul’s Strike a chord in me. The “White House” was another of those. Amazing that I should meet the grandson of the owners…
During our over 2 hour visit, I discovered Mr. Veitch’s impressive Index for Muskoka. Every name mentioned in any local history, periodical or any other publication is listed with the page or location of that reference. This Index is nearly three inches thick! In it, I was able to discover the history of the “Yellow Door” (Livingstone) house. I have another painting in the works that should be complete by the end of this month, so I’ll save that story until then. I now understand why this house had such incredible architectural detail… Stay tuned!
If you are seeking family history or are doing research in Muskoka (mainly Bracebridge and area), you must look up Ken Veitch. He will be releasing a book on the History of Ufford in October 2009.
This is a house I shot in Simcoe County, not too far from Creemore, around this time last year. It is coming along slowly. Insulbrick is not the easiest thing to paint! The rich light of a September afternoon is hopefully what this one will show when it is complete. It is a very pretty, but lonely house. I have had my feelers out for a history on this one, but, so far, no info yet! The property has been for sale for quite some time and the house is surprisingly solid. I would hope that any buyer might keep it…
I hope to finish this one up early this week in order to get working on the second “Livingstone House” painting. The drawings and the prep are done, all I have to do is start painting! I will also be meeting with Vankoughnet historian Jennifer Milne again this week. Lots of new places on the agenda for the Fall – and many more stories to come… including the story of Johnny Moon.