New Brunswick

Hampton resident hopes someone will adopt decaying Loyalist home

A Hampton resident is the neighbour to a house likely built in 1790 and he hopes someone else will see its beauty. 

A former resident of the house said it's sad to see it in such poor condition

John Leroux said the added exterior decorations come from a the gothic revival, and these were added to the home about 50 years after it was built. (Submitted by Stephen Langille)

A Hampton man who lives next door to a house likely built in 1790 hopes someone else will see its beauty is worth preserving. 

"There's just so much history there, it would be lovely if someone stepped up and rebuilt it or even moved it but kept that style and history with us," said Stephen Langille. 

He believes the house could be the oldest in Hampton.

Debbie Hickey, manager of the King County Museum in Hampton, said it's the Isaac Ketchum home. The Ketchums were a prominent Loyalist family who came to New Brunswick in 1783.

She said it was used for church services during its early years. 

Jonny Day's mother commissioned a painting of the home once they had finished renovations in the 1990s. (Submitted by Jonny Day)

John Leroux, architect and curator for the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, said the Loyalist home was upgraded in the mid-1800s as a gothic revival home. 

He said the first thing most people would notice is the gingerbread trim. 

"They added all that decorative trim and they also would have added that front bay with the gothic window and door porch." 

He said it's one of the finest gothic revivals in that area of the province. 

"It's a fascinating thing on how styles change, it's a completely different style. It's like your grandfather wearing tie dye and having sideburns."

According to Langille, the home has been vacant for about 10 years. 

Childhood memories

Jonny Day lived in the home during the 1990s as a child. He said when they moved in, it was in extremely poor condition.

His family fixed the siding, insulation, floors and put a new roof on. 

The back of the home shows some of its deterioration. (Submitted by Stephen Langille)

"I don't think it ever looked better than when we lived there."

Day said the bottom floor was a mix of hardwood and softwood with coal stoves in the family room and living room. 

"Our lock was a giant board that slid into brackets across the wall." 

He moved away when he was 12 and said he wants to see it restored or, at the very least, remain standing.

"It's been depressing to watch it slowly decline into ruin." 

Saving the past 

Langille's house was built in 1825 and since he moved in about 25 years ago, he's been working on renovations and upkeep. 

He hopes someone will do the same for the abandoned gothic revival. 

"They're worth saving. They've got so much detail and style to them, and it's wonderful to live in an old house."

But he said it will take a certain kind of person to take on the project. 

John Leroux said this would be a good time to fix up the building. (Submitted by Stephen Langille)

He said the first year he lived in the house it felt like he spent every spare moment scraping paint.

"You have to be passionate about it because you're going to find that at some point you'd rather go fishing."

Leroux said from what he can see, the condition of the house doesn't seem as bad as it looks, but if someone wants to fix it up, now would be the time. 

"Every year you get exponential decay, the next two years could be as bad as the last 10 years of it being abandoned."

Information Morning Saint John

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