Friday, August 3, 2012

Abandonment Issues: Magner-Robson Heritage House (407)


IMG_0943

The Magner-Robson Heritage House has garnered a lot of media attention, and it is one of the most notable of the heritage homes in the destructive path of the Ontario government's 407 highway extension plan, as it is one of the only remaining old stone houses in Oshawa. Several interested parties have attempted to save the house, hoping it could be sold to an interested party, raised and relocated, at the hefty cost of $300,000. But to no avail, it is now slated for demolition.

The one and a half storey Neoclassical Georgian style stone house was built on Winchester Rd. W. in Oshawa in the 1860s by the township of East Whitby, and it's original owner was a farmer named John Magner. After changing hands a number of times, the home was purchased in 1944 by Charles Norman Robson of Oshawa's Robson Leather Co., which made extensive profits during the second world war providing the Canadian forces with boot leather. At this time the home underwent major interior renovations and additions to suit the needs and desires of it's affluent new owner. Also added to the property at this time were the pens for Mr. Robner's peacocks.

Magnar Robson House

I'm not going to pretend I know anything about architectural design, because I don't. But the Heritage Oshawa website states that the home's architectural features include: A two storey frame addition, stone chimney, unique doorcase and window openings, cut stone and field masonry, four gable dormers on south fa├žade, gable roof with returned eaves and molded cornice and frieze, and an east facade verandah.

Magnar Robson House

Among the countless homes and properties in the path of the 407 extension, are 8 more homes with heritage designation. Roman philosopher George Santayana once said that "Those who cannot not remember the past are condemned to repeat it." What does that say for the generation and the government that takes a wrecking ball to it's past and paves over it?

We head inside, the first floor is boarded up and pitch black...

Fire in the hole
Fire in the hole

Hittin' switches
Hittin' switches

And then we wander up the stairs...

Blank stairs
Blank stairs

Down and out
Down and out

IX
IX

Black mould
Black mould

I don't know, something funny or descriptive or stupid, a bunch of words
I don't know, something funny or descriptive or stupid, a bunch of words

Canadian horror story
Canadian horror story

Door" said the explorer
"Door" said the explorer

Sit at your desk
Sit at your desk

Yellow fever
Yellow fever

Pink tank
Pink tank

I pink I can
I pink I can

And then we descend into the basement...

Please do not enter
Please do not enter

You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him think
You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him think

Floored
Green yellow red

And then we meander back outside, and over to the pool...

Off the deep end
Off the deep end

Don't be shallow
Don't be shallow

I'm not particularly pleased with the batch of images I left here with, as many didn't turn out very well, including some of the interior shots, and those of the stables. But things don't always turn out the way one hopes, one needs to accept that and move on.

This is the third post in the 407 series, following up on The Beauty & The Beast and the Beautiful Batty Baldwin House, which were explored previously on this day in early May of 2012, with fellow explorer Dallas. More to come, but now I really do need to finishing packing for this camping trip.

*** EDIT ***

The Magner-Robson House, and several other houses in the path of the 407 highway were demolished in early May of 2013.

click here to check out all of jerm & ninja IX's ABANDONMENT ISSUES

3 comments:

jerm IX said...

Just recieved this message via email. I always love these personal messages offering perspectives and memories on these locations that I am so passionate about...

"I am Barbara Robson Qualley, the surviving daughter of Charles Robson.
Needless to say, I have been following this sadness for several years.
Every time I see photos, they are worse than the previous batch.

I do hope they demolish this house.  It is difficult to believe that
it would ever live up to its former glory.

Thank you for your interest and this article.
Barbara"

Laura said...

I especially like the stone houses. I don't explore in that area but I would like to see that one. I start in Barrie and tend to go east or west - the lakes kind of get in the way otherwise. :)

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this inside look; Perhaps Barbara Robson has some photos of the house in it's glory days?