Liz Driver of Prince Edward Heritage Committee (PEHAC), homeowner Braydon Scully and Archivist Molly McGowan: A Conversation about why and how you may wish to designate your heritage home.
Braydon Scully is the owner of Walmsley-Ayer/Scully Farm Complex, a home which was recently historically designated in Prince Edward County. Braydon Scully and Dawn Ayer are only the third owners of this home which was built by the Walmsley family in 1875.
If this discussion enticed you to begin researching your own heritage home, the Prince Edward County Archives may be able to assist with your property history search. Contact Molly at firstname.lastname@example.org and provide her with your lot and concession number (located on your property tax bill). The Archives may have relevant records about your property, including. land abstract books which record previous owners and mortgagers of lots in the County Additionally, the archives' HASPE entries (Historical Architectural Survey of Prince Edward) include photos (ca. 1980) and limited information about many of the historically significant homes in Prince Edward County.
Debby Cermak, another historic homeowner, also shared her answers to our questions.
Why were you interested in learning the history of your property? I was simply curious about the history of the property. I knew that a house down the road, had most likely been built about the same time by the same builder and it was an historic property.
How did you use the archives to learn more about the history of your property?
I went to the PEC Archives located in the Wellington Branch Library and put myself in the hands of the archivist there. She was kind enough to provide me with all of the records they had available on the house/ property and provided me with photocopies.
What archival records (land abstracts/ HASPE entry/ land deeds?) did you use for your research?
The archivist retrieved the records for me, she looked at the deeds and I also believe she also looked at the HASPE entry. Was it hard to interpret any of these records? It was challenging trying to follow the land deeds, I would have struggled without the help of the archivist.
What were you able to learn from these records that was helpful to your research?
I was able to discover who was first granted the land and how it changed hands, until the house was finally built on the lot. The original lot was divided. Other than the Archives, where else did you go to research your property? I am fortunate to be friends with Liz Driver (PEHAC member) and Edwin Rowse, both have a great deal of knowledge about the history of homes in the County and Edwin is an architect who specializes in historical buildings. He provided architectural details as they related to the house and the barn.
Once you completed your research how did you obtain a Historical Designation? How long did this process take? Liz Driver helped me to write the description for the Historical Designation submission. Once the paperwork was submitted it took almost a year and a half for the process to be completed.
Do you have any tips for individuals interested in researching the history of their property to obtain a Historical Designation? Start with the PEC Archives and don't be afraid to contact the Prince Edward Heritage Advisory Committee (PEHAC), they have people who really want to help. For more information about Historic Designations please visit the County’s website (https://www.thecounty.ca/county-government/departments/planning/heritage-conservation/) or email PEHAC at email@example.com.