Wednesday, October 12, 2016

234 O'Connor - Another One Bites The Dust?

Centretown has a number of heritage properties that I enjoy sketching. Many are often scheduled for demolition through neglect (i.e. like the recent 293 Lisgar (Mauds Mortar) demolition D07-05-15-0006).

The most recent heritage home on the demolition block is at 234 O'Connor St in Centretown, Ottawa and the application will be heard at Ottawa City Hall (in the Champlain Room at 9:30) Thursday October 13, 2016.

The owner has made application to demolish the existing house and to create a temporary park (featuring a mix of hard and soft landscaping).

234 O'Connor St., Ottawa: notice of demolition application

The building at 234 O ’Connor Street is a two and one half storey, wood frame brick clad structure with a rubble stone foundation that was constructed between 1888 - 1915 and is an example of a simple vernacular Queen Anne dwelling. (Read Cultural Impact Statement here)

The property has been vacant for approximately 15 years after a fire that caused damage to the upper floors. The windows and doors have been removed and the openings have been covered with plywood. All interior finishes and fixtures have been removed, with the exception of the plaster ceilings on the ground floor of the original building

The City of Ottawa planning staff want the committee to deny the owner's application for demolition.

I decided to visit the site over the Thanksgiving weekend and take a few photos to sketch.

My ink sketch based on photo in Heritage report

234 O'Connor St., Ottawa (north side)

A couple of quick sketches from my sketchbook.

234 O'Connor St., Ottawa (rear)
My watercolour sketch of 234 O'Connor St.

From the Heritage Report:

"O’Connor St. between Cooper and Somerset was developed in the 1880’s as a residential neighbourhood consisting of two and three storey brick residences typically fronting on the east west streets ( Cooper and Somerset) with mid - block residences fronting on O’Connor. The development pattern remained static up until the early part of the 20 th century when low - rise apartment buildings were developed, and Dominion - Cha l mers United Church were constructed in the 194 0s . Ten years later, a second wave of apartment buildings were constructed in the area. one of which is located across the street from the site. Beginning in the late 1950s through to the mid 1960s, a number of residential properties were demolished withi n the block and across the st r eet , lots consolidated under one owner and developed as parking lots. By 1976 , the corner of O’Conner and Somerset within the block had been cleared and has served as a parking lot; the bui l ding to the south of the site was d emolished in 1997."
 234 O'Connor
  • based on fire insurance maps, 234 O'Connor was constructed between 1888 and 1915.
  • the exterior brick was painted to protect the relatively soft brick and has peeled off due to the building being vacant and unheated. 
  • the verandah has been removed from the front of the building.
  • there is a structural crack in the brick veneer extending up  the left corner of the rear (west) wall of the building due to settlement / movement in the stone foundation.
  • In 1909, William Swetman (caretaker of the YMCA) lived there with Earl Swetman who was a student.
Source: My Heritage: The Ottawa City Directory, 1909

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