| Apr 26, 2007


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Feature Article - April 26, 2007

AveryHouse

by Ray Fletcher

1878 in Sharbot Lake certainly must have been a pretty exciting time to be alive -- a time bursting with growth, adventure, business activity, hardship, weather, fire, illness, feast and/or famine, all shared by native peoples and newcomers, hardy workers and entrepreneurs who struggled to make their dreams come true.

This place we call home is alive with, infested with, positively crawling with, the neatest, toughest, "git 'er done" HISTORY I could ever imagine.

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I live in the “Avery House" (above the Post Office), the home of Mr. Melzer Avery when it was built around 1880. If you haven't read about the lumber consortium of Thomson-Avery, go to the library and find out about the outrageous times during the founding of our community. There weren't any pistol duels in the main street, at noon or any other time of the day, but then that whole idea is a foolish Hollywood scenario anyway, and almost never happened. But there WERE hotels and brawls, whiskey and women, and hard-working men who logged, blasted, freighted and built. They were born, and died, and were born again so that many people today have a safe home, maybe some land, food in the freezer and kids in school with a limitless future.

I want to do homage to those pioneers by recognizing Mr. Avery, the pioneer who arranged these boards upon which I daily tread. The current owners of Avery House, Mr. & Mrs. Ken and Ginette Bouchard of Ottawa, are dedicated to restoring, as far as money permits, the look of the Avery house, using modern, ecologically-friendly systems and equipment.

In the first place, the brickwork could not be repaired; several attempts came to nought. Thus the building was reclad in an insulated wood-like vinyl. A large investment was made to upgrade the electrical service, including removal and replacement of hydro poles, old furnaces, and one of the central air systems. Energy-efficient windows were installed, and the loading dock area repaired and tidied up. There are further plans to create a 19th century ‘courtyard’ in front of the building.

I know there are a lot of folks who are proud of their ancestors, and aware of their heritage. If we are proud enough to publish a ‘Walking Tour’ pamphlet, why not identify our historic buildings and spruce ‘em up, just as our grandparents would have hurried to dust their parlour if they had company coming?

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