Pete Anderson looks on as heavy machinery reduces the historic “Guyitt house” to a pile of dirt and rubble. Photo by The Ridgetown Independent News

After a long, heart-wrenching week, a small gesture brought a smile to Peter Anderson’s face.

An unknown person left a single red rose on the ‘No Trespassing’ sign on his Talbot Trail property, where a famous farmhouse stood for 178 years.

The red rose’s significance exemplified the love that thousands of people, not only in Chatham-Kent but across the country, have for Canada’s most photographed house.

Tired of fighting city hall, Anderson begrudgingly carried out the municipality’s demolition order to raze the famous Guyitt House last Wednesday.

“I hope the Municipality is happy,” Anderson said after watching heavy machinery reduce the historic house to a pile of dirt and rubble.

The two-story house, which was located on Talbot Trail between Palmyra and Clearville in Orford Twp., was built in 1845.

Anderson’s grandparents Roy and Ethel Guyitt, purchased the property in 1908. His mother, Isabelle, and uncle Earl grew up in the home.

The house has been in a dilapidated state since it was last occupied in 1985.

Despite its derelict condition, the house was a local tourist attraction drawing the attention of photographers and artists, leading to its distinction as Canada’s most photographed home.

But the landscape changed when an unnamed person lodged a complaint with the Municipality of Chatham-Kent about the structure’s safety.

The municipality issued an ultimatum to Anderson in a registered letter dated September 15, 2022, that he had 14 days to tear the house down, and if he did not comply, he could be charged for the cost of the demolition conducted by an assigned company.

Paul Lacina, Director of Building Development Services, told The Ridgetown Independent News at the time that in response to the complaint, a building inspector determined the dwelling was unsafe and issued a repair or demolish order in accordance with the municipality’s property standards bylaw.

Anderson appealed the decision and, with the help of Ward 3 Councillors John Wright and Steve Pinsonneault, bought some time to investigate whether there was protection through a heritage designation.

However, the Chatham-Kent Bylaw Appeal and Property Standards Committee denied Anderson’s appeal at a public hearing on April 19 at the Civic Centre.

Anderson was issued a new compliance date to pursue options to preserve and protect the property or complete work from bringing the property into compliance with the bylaw by October 20.

Having exhausted all hope – and exhausted by the entire process – Anderson made the emotional decision to raze the house last week.

While reduced to a pile of rubble, the memory of the Guyitt House will last forever, thanks to the hundreds of photographs and paintings.

By Michael Bennett, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Original Published on Jun 26, 2023 at 12:52

This item reprinted with permission from   The Independent News   Ridgetown, Ontario
Comments are Welcome - Leave a reply below - Posts are moderated

Comments are Welcome - Leave a reply below - Posts are moderated