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Address: 2320 Andrew Street

Location: Lot 68, Plan 628

Date and Fabric: c. 1900, two storey frame

Known owners: Arthur Acton 1898-1901; Robert C. Acton 1901-1908; Samuel Craig 1908-1919; Tom Daly 1919-1952; Standard Church 1952-1976; Preston Stevens 1976-1984; Dale and John Garland 1984-1987; Chris and Susan Parsons 1987-

 

photograph 1997

Other photos on file from 1990, 1986 and 1980, and oversize

See also "Presence of the Past" for July, 1986

This Andrew Street house, with its distinctive bay window, sits directly across from Mulligan's Grocery. It was probably built between 1898 and 1901. In 1898, Arthur Acton appears to have bought the land [then described as part of lot 56, plan 91] for $75 from the estate of William Pratt, a blacksmith who lived on the southern corner of Andrew Street and Craig Street. In 1901, Arthur Acton sold the land to his son Robert C. Acton, a cabinetmaker according to the deed, for $1,400. The price indicates that a building was probably included.

Robert Acton worked as an undertaker and also kept a furniture business [bought from F.W. Lord in 1891] in a store directly behind the house, on the corner of Roger Stevens Drive and Craig Street. Between the backs of the two buildings were a number of sheds and carriage houses. In his history of North Gower's Masonic Order, Mel Scobie refers to "Brother Acton's black team which acted both as hearse horses and dray team with furniture piled high, usually driven by one of Acton's sons." 18 Mr. Acton was a founding member of the Masonic Lodge [1905] for which he made and presented the working tools. He had three sons and lived with them in this house where he kept a ready supply of coffins. Mr. Colin Thomson's mother, who lived next door, used to remark that she always knew when someone had died since as soon as Acton received word he would begin to tack the casket lining in place. This he would do day or night, to the occasional dismay of his sleeping neighbors. In those days, wakes took place in the home of the deceased so the bodies were not brought to Acton's house.

In 1908, Mr. Acton sold the house and presumably the furniture store to Samuel Craig. Mr. Craig opened a drugstore in the former furniture building and sold North Gower's first [commercial] ice-cream for five cents a bowl. Around 1914-1916, the drugstore building was taken down and it seems probable that at this time Mr. Craig moved out of the house and began to rent it. One tenant in the next few years was a Mr. Cutcliffe, the bank manager, and Mrs. Jenny Hodgins has suggested that at least one other tenant, probably also a bank manager, occupied the house during Craig's ownership.

In 1919, the house was sold to Tom Daly, who had just retired from his Marlborough farm and moved into the village with his two daughters, Ruby and Sadie. The Dalys lived in the house until 1952. Ruby was a local schoolteacher before working for the government, and Sadie was a North Gower telephone operator. Tom Daly, born in 1867, spent a large part of his retirement as the caretaker for the Anglican cemetery.

In 1952, Mr Daly moved into a modern bungalow and the Daly house was purchased by the Standard Church [at that time situated directly across the street], as a manse for its ministers. In 1976 the church sold the house to Preston Stevens. In 1983, he changed the heating system from oil to electric and a year later sold to Dale and John Garland. The house has no basement and is now [1986] heated in winter with a woodstove. Apparently the original colours of the house were, like 2340 Church Street q.v., white with green trim. It is now [1986] "chocolate and eggnog"19.

[After Peter Davidson, 1986. Sources 1,2,3,4,5]

18 History of the Corinthian Lodge #476 North Gower 1905 - 1973

19 In 1990 it was "eggnog with cream trim"

March, 1990

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