Thursday, January 15, 2009

the farmhouse...the story

There's something about historic country farmhouses that makes them most inviting! And if the old country farmhouse played a part in one's past, it is all the more interesting.

Here is one of my favorite old homes in our neighbourhood...a home that I visited on many occasions in my youth...and still visit every once in awhile.

During our last snowfall...we had the privilege of being invited to a New Year's party at this wonderful place by the most hospitable owners. And, since not all the guests had been there before...we enjoyed a tour of the home and learned a little of its history. A most interesting history indeed!

The original farmhouse was built about one-hundred years ago. The farm was purchased by a Montreal debutante who had been disinherited from her wealthy family for marrying the chauffeur. The young couple packed up and moved west to start a new life. Upon arrival at their new premises, Mrs. Allen (quite an eccentric woman) created a suite for the chauffeur in the machine shed...and that is where the husband lived for the rest of their married life. The farm had a herd of jersey cows became well-known in the area.

In 1950, Mrs. Allen sold the well-established farm to an Oscar winning cinematographer, Osmond Borradaile, who wanted the idyllic farm setting as a Utopia to raise his family. In actuality, he mostly left the running of the farm to his wife while he was off chasing his filmmaking career. Mr. Borradaile's connections brought famous friends to our fair town...and it is rumoured that Clark Gable slept in this farmhouse on occasion. His foray into farming lasted only one which time the farm was sold to the Epp family.

It was during the sixties that I visited the farm...even spending the night in the old farmhouse on one occasion. (Hmmm...maybe even in the same room where Clark Gable once slept.)

The years slipped by so quickly...and for the past thirty years the next generation of Epps have been farming at the same location. The house has undergone several upgrades, but much is still original....including baseboards, light fixtures and inlaid hardwood floors.

It's a great old house...and comes with more than a few wonderful tales. One of my favorite stories has to be that of the discovery of a room full of movie reels when the Epp family arrived in 1960. They also found a movie projector...and spent countless hours viewing movies clips left behind by the famous Hollywood movie-maker, Borradaille. Unfortunately the bulb on the projector burnt out...and times were it was replaced by a regular lightbulb rather than the specified one. They continued watching...reel after reel...only to discover that the bulb had burned up the film as they were viewing it. What may have been a national treasure (he was a Canadian)...became lost art.

Every house has it's tales...let's preserve them!
* * * * * * * * *
Many of you are asking about Jeremy. He seemed to show a slight improvement we are hoping he has turned a corner and is on the road to recovery. It sounds like it will be a long road. Thanks again for your continued prayers!


  1. Thanks for a great story, I love the history of houses/homes and the families that lived in them

  2. So interesting, Judy. Thank you for featuring this charming's lovely inside and out.

    How sad about the movie reels...

  3. Thanks for writing down the story! I guess we weren't too interested in history when I spent a lot of time there visiting my friends - because very little of this tale sounds familiar to me. I don't remember seeing any of those movies - but I certainly remember servant bells, a dumb waiter, old plumbing, etc. I'm eagerly waiting to hear the good news that Jeremy is home and doing better.

  4. What a beautiful home and so well preserved just like it's owners.
    One great family after another.
    We're happy to hear a slight improvement.

  5. The house in your story is so beautiful. What a history.
    I'm glad that Jeremy is feeling a little better. We will continue to pray for him.

  6. What an interesting story. When I drive past old houses I often wonder about their stories. I don't imagine they've all got a history as interesting as this one, though.

  7. What an interesting old houses. If walls could talk, right?

    Good to hear that Jeremy's feeling a bit better today.

  8. Karen Hayes (nee Friesen)January 15, 2009 at 11:08 AM

    I had to laugh, I started reading your blog and then looked at the picture and thought, "Gee that house looks familiar" (it's my sisters house! Didn't recognize it with all that snow). I miss the servant bells and dumb waiter. The kids used to hide in the dumb waiter when playing hide and seek. I always thought the house was haunted; spooky and unexplainable things happened when I would babysit the kids at night (maybe it was just my wild teen imagination, but...) It is truly a one of a kind fabulous home. And I love your blog and the mennonite girls can cook recipes!

  9. It's pretty and especially in the snow but not sure about the snow indoors though!!

    Glad Jeremy is doing ok.

  10. Judy, I continue to say prayers for your son. I hope he continues to improve and regain his strength.

    I love old houses, and the stories they have to tell.

  11. What a great story. We use to live in a home in VA..built during the Civil War..oh the stories it had!
    -sandy toe

  12. So much history..I love old homes! Thanks for sharing this one with us Judy.

  13. Goodness. . .who would have thought a house could have such an interesting history. .
    Oh still praying for Jeremy .. woke last night at 4 and said another quick prayer and must have fallen back to sleep within a minute. . .

  14. Goodness. . .who would have thought a house could have such an interesting history. .
    Oh still praying for Jeremy .. woke last night at 4 and said another quick prayer and must have fallen back to sleep within a minute. . .

  15. Hi Judy

    What a wonderful home! I often wish I knew more about who lived in my house before we bought it. All we know is that it had two prior owners, and that it was built in 1937.

    Sad about those lost movie reels. It reminds me of one of my favorite movie, "Cinema Paradiso" -- an Italian film with subtitles.

    Glad to hear Jeremy is a little stronger. It does take time but with God's grace he'll be back to good health soon.

  16. Oh, I have daughters and nieces who would have gobbled up those stories and dramatized the whole thing in their playtimes. They were alwasy running away form the orphanage etc. What fun!

  17. What a beautiful house with an interesting history. I enjoyed hearing about it. Thanks for sharing.

    So relieved to hear that Jeremy is showing improvement. Will keep him in my prayers until I hear he is completely recovered.

  18. This is quite a story! What an interesting history that old farmhouse has.

    I haven't been by in a little while and just saw your post about Jeremy and I join you in praying for him...

  19. Hi Judy! I looked at your blog and immediately recognized that house as being my favorite place to spend time on Sunday afternoons and evenings during my teen years! I passed on your "blog" to my dear friend that I used to visit there.....she loved it!

    We continue to earnestly pray for Jeremy and family. Dot