On Thursday, I had a chance to meet Stephen Hurley for a lunch in Port Stanley. I had two major ways to get there. I could fly down the 401 or I could take the old Highway 3 and a little slower, less congested pace. According to Google Maps, the difference would be about nine minutes. Since I was a little late getting going, I headed out on the 401 to get there. There are a couple of factors that come into play that really slowed things – idiots driving crazy and construction work. I ended up deking down to New Glasgow and picking up Highway 3 for the rest of the trip.
Taking Highway 3 is always my preference; there’s so much to see and with the speed limit at 90km/h at times, it’s a much more enjoyable, less stressful choice. There’s just so much to see; the lake, the buildings, the fields, etc. and then there’s this one house.
My wife comments every time we drive by at its condition and she’s convinced that it’s haunted. The house is the point of this post – the Guyitt Homestead. I missed it going to Port Stanley but made a point to stop on the way back to take a few pictures.
Normally, if I’m out and about, I’ll use the Check-In feature on Facebook so that people (particularly family) know where I am. It’s also fun to check in and have a friend show up to have a coffee or a chat. In this case, while the Guylitt Homestead is listed on Google Maps, I couldn’t check-in. Maybe that’s a good thing because, as the Eagles sang in Hotel California, and if my wife is correct, “you can check out any time you want but you can never leave.”
There will be a test later to see if you know any of these places.
Here’s the first picture that I took. The clouds really added a nice touch, I thought.
The Guyitt Homestead has crossed my mind a couple of times this past week. It’s been in the news with the community of Chatham-Kent wanting to tear it down. Of course, there’s the discussion with my wife and then my friend Bernadette sent me a link to a petition opposing the destruction of the house.
Here’s the news clip from CTV Windsor.
I pulled over on the drive home to take some pictures. I thought I might be alone but there were a couple of other photographers with really good cameras and a lady working her way through talking to everyone. I grabbed the snap above with my phone from the gravel on the side of the road.
The place was clearly marked “No Trespassing” so I respected that. Fortunately, I brought my good camera that allowed me to zoom in for a better picture.
It’s clear that the place is in need of something. I used the zoom as a binocular and looked around. The lawn was immaculately cut; the trees need trimming but who am I to talk about that?, there was either a Canadian flag or a remnant of a Canadian flag or at least something red protruding from an upstairs window.
The roof looked a little off so I zoomed in on it.
There’s some definite maintenance and/or reconstruction needed. It’s interesting to see that the outside must have been red brick at one point but most of it has fallen off.
I can see both sides of the story here. I can understand the community wanting to tear it down to make it safe. If anyone ignored the No Trespassing signs and went in, who knows what could happen?
On the other hand, once you destroy something like this, it’s gone forever. In my hometown, fires have destroyed beautiful old buildings and they just got torn down and are now an empty spot on the street. It does take effort and money to repair and restore.
But, restoration can be possible. In my old hometown, I remember the “Spook House” which had been abandoned – we kids just knew that it was haunted and would spend a lot of time looking for ghosts. I can report that we never found one. It has indeed been restored and is now a beautiful residential home. Every now and again I look to see if it’s for sale – not to buy it, but to walk through during an open house. I’d love to see what it looks like restored.
There is a farmhouse out the Cut Line which my wife always says “they might as well just blow it up” when we drive by and she wipes a tear from her eye. Just like we enjoy Highway 3, we know all the back roads of our old hometown/county and will take them at any opportunity. It’s not uncommon to see houses or barns in really rough shape and yet they’re somehow still allowed to stand.
So, the Guyitt Homestead … is it haunted? That’s part of the claim as well as being one of the most photographed houses in Canada. I certainly added quite a few pictures to that count and there are some beautiful images here.
If it is indeed haunted, I haven’t been able to find stories. But I do have a couple of wonders …
- If it is haunted, and must be torn down, where do the ghosts go?
- If it is haunted and restored, where do the ghosts go during the restoration? Will they come back?
Ghosts are good for tourism! A few instances come immediately to mind.
The building was reportedly built back in the 1840s. This collection of images shows what is happening inside. It’s not pretty.
It would look like restoration might be a challenge but I think back to our “Spook House”. I know that my Dad used to think it should just be torn down. While the outsides take a beating from the weather, the structures themselves were often constructed with huge, strong beams that have held up the frame for years. So, it is possible and it’s comforting to see that there is an ongoing investigation to see if there are possibilities for the Guyitt Homestead. I like that there are fans that want the building to have a future.
Because sadly, once it’s gone, it’s gone.