Historic home torn down

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A piece of Pictou County’s past was picked apart Monday, with the demolition of this stone house in Blue Acres. The home was built in 1822 out of stones that are believed to have come from Scotland. CHRISTOPHER CAMERON – THE NEWS

BLUE ACRES – Despite the fact that owner Vernon Blois had confirmed almost a month ago that he was thinking about tearing it down, the demolition of the old stone house in Blue Acres seemed sudden and surprising to those passing on East River Road Monday.

The work began in the early afternoon and within hours there was little but rubble left of the historic home.

None was more surprised than local historian John Ashton who had actually been trying to arrange a meeting with Blois, to talk about ways to preserve the historical site.

“I talked to him a week ago,” Ashton said. “He didn’t give me any inkling they were going to tear it down this soon.”

He said it’s sad to lose a piece of history, but at the same time understands the difficulty of getting government or even private money for costly projects such as heritage sites.

“If there was someone with lots of money, we probably could have done something. I know there was a lot of interest,” Ashton said. “The reality is you would need lots of money.”

He said it’d be nice if there were a way to for the municipalities in Pictou County to find a way to preserve their past better.

The stone house was built in 1822 by Donald MacLennan. Donald was the son of John MacLennan who was born in Scotland and was among the settlers who came to Pictou County aboard the Ship Hector. It is for the MacLennans that MacLellans Brook got its name. It’s believed the stones could have come from Scotland.

Geographic location: BLUE ACRES, Pictou County, Scotland

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Recent comments

  • Mattie Polson
    March 22, 2013 - 23:14

    Hello Pictou County, You possess some beautiful buildings. Unfortunately, you are falling behind. Other towns and counties in Nova Scotia boast grant programs for heritage buildings, historic home tours, strong heritage advisory committees, well-organized heritage advocates, and good developers and business people who see wonderful dollar signs when they look at these old buildings. You are blessed with a rich inventory of stone (and wood) buildings. It is the concentration of stone buildings though that give your area a unique character - probably your greatest asset. If a developer or property owner tells you these buildings are too far gone, it is baloney and serves to demonstrate that he/she is simply in over his/her head and needs to sell the property to someone who knows what they're doing. Historic preservation equals great economic sense.

  • Sam
    February 28, 2013 - 08:21

    Sad to say, but we have just seen reason #450 why people leave here! Any area with no pride in it's past certainly has no faith in it's future.

  • Bryan M.
    February 27, 2013 - 09:57

    It is very sad to see a house torn down in our county that was approaching 200 years old. The issue of what to do with the property and where to get the money from is a very difficult one, as Mr.Ashton pointed out. There does seem to be money "out there" for lots of causes and projects in the community, however historical concerns never seem to garner much interest or support. I do not see this changing for the better, and the future is bleak for all historical issues. Most people rate history very low in their list of interests and concerns. This is largely due to a lack of education and a general ignorance in our community and most others. We have become so removed from our past and our roots that you would do well to find a handful of people that could tell you much about it. As a result we have people with less connection and concern with our community and a general feeling of apathy towards it. To be fair, this is most clearly reflected in the younger generations for whom the greatest concerns are cell phones, i pods and the latest Blackberry.We need our community leaders to stand up and be leaders and not follow the pack.

  • Bryan M.
    February 27, 2013 - 09:55

    It is very sad to see a house torn down in our county that was approaching 200 years old. The issue of what to do with the property and where to get the money from is a very difficult one, as Mr.Ashton pointed out. There does seem to be money "out there" for lots of causes and projects in the community, however historical concerns never seem to garner much interest or support. I do not see this changing for the better, and the future is bleak for all historical issues. Most people rate history very low in their list of interests and concerns. This is largely due to a lack of education and a general ignorance in our community and most others. We have become so removed from our past and our roots that you would do well to find a handful of people that could tell you much about it. As a result we have people with less connection and concern with our community and a general feeling of apathy towards it. To be fair, this is most clearly reflected in the younger generations for whom the greatest concerns are cell phones, i pods and the latest Blackberry.We need our community leaders to stand up and be leaders and not follow the pack.

  • Northender
    February 26, 2013 - 11:21

    I knew Frank Thompson very well and he took such pride in his property. I even had my wedding pictures taken there many years ago. What has happened to this property since he passed away is disgraceful. Noone tried to preserve the the history of it...they just started chipping and hacking away. I personally am so glad that I have those pictures to see so that I can remember such a beautiful spot.

    • Robert Lange
      February 26, 2013 - 15:22

      I anyone has some photos of this magnificent old home would love to get copies of them as neighbour here it was part of her family history . It would mean a great deal to this family You can send them to Robert Lange (902) 926-2757 Thanks

  • Sarah
    February 26, 2013 - 09:18

    Seriously people?! Rhonda - you think it was selfish of the owners to tear it down? It would have likely cost into the millions to make that place safe for people to be in it. Were you willing to set forward and put the money and time into saving it? And Aaron - sadly, I doubt a stone building like that could be moved, plus, the cost of doing so and making the building safe would be prohibitive. Yes it would be lovely to save these historical buildings but in the end, it's just not realistic to do so. Take lots of pictures and save it that way because our society can not afford to waste money saving things like this from destruction. As for what the owners "did to the beautiful property", that was their choice. I imagine it took the old owners a lot of time, effort and money to upkeep the gorgeous gardens that used to be there and a lot of people no longer have the time, money, skills or desire to do so. In the end, it's his property and his right to do with it as he sees fit.

  • amalgamate
    February 26, 2013 - 08:08

    This county needs to have a single municipal government with a single set of rules for all property owners and one fire service, one police service, one water & sewer utility, one planning office, etc. The waste of tax money for all taxpayers in this county is unbelievable.

  • rhonda
    February 26, 2013 - 07:43

    What a shame that our county doesn't treasure it's history while other counties preserve theirs at any cost. We just keep losing these historical places without any remorse. It's a shame.This property was the nicest in the county for years till selfish owners took over and didn't give a darn ....I wish people would stop selling these beautiful places to people that plan to destroy them , and in this case for what? First the Red Barn, now the stone house, now what? The ugly plastic house in the mounds of dirt?

  • Long Time New Glasgow Resident
    February 26, 2013 - 07:24

    I think what has happened with this property over the last number of years has been a disgrace! It used to be a beautiful green scape to pass by and now it looks like some sort of dump. I am ashamed of the owners for letting this all take place - take a beautiful piece of property and destroy it.

  • Deana Fraser
    February 26, 2013 - 07:14

    So very sad to see another Historic building gone .

  • Heritage Mind
    February 25, 2013 - 21:03

    yet another sad sad story.Will the day come when only vinyl siding remains??? Hard to admire vinyl siding when one compares stone masonry... sad sad sad

  • Aaron Ferguson
    February 25, 2013 - 20:53

    I think the man who got this building tore down should have looked into possibly giving the building to a heritage group mayby had it moved to a different location. There is to much history just being torn away without any care of what historic value it may contain. It would be nice to save a few things.