Houses of the Gatineau Hills

The following article first appeared in "The Low Down to Hull and Back News" in the January 26, 2011 issue. Reprinted with permission.

Farmhouse five-generation storehouse of history

by Trevor Greenway

Mary Ann and David Hogan live inside a time machine. Take one step into their Cantley farmhouse and you enter a time warp, dating back to the late 1800s.

The first thing you spot on the exposed log wall is the original deed from 1867, inscribed with a date that precedes Canada's confederation milestone on July 1. The rest of the house puts similar memorabilia on display.

David Hogan was born at the 100-acre homestead just off Hwy 307 in Cantley. He grew up there with his four siblings before moving to Ottawa as a teenager and later launching a company called World of Pumps, specializing in residential, commercial and industrial pumping supplies.

It wasn't until the mid 1980s when he returned to the farm, ready to bulldoze the old farmhouse to build a new, modern home.

Houses of the Gatineau Hills
The Hogan family (Frank, wife Hanna Holmes and kids) at the farm in the 1940s. Photo courtesy Mary Ann Hogan.

"When you are born and raised here and froze all your life, you want something new," said Hogan, remembering the chilly winter nights on the farm.

But his wife wouldn't let him knock the structure down. She fought to save it and won.

Instead of knocking down the old farmhouse, Mary Ann Hogan armed herself with a crowbar and began tearing down walls all the way down to the skeleton of the house. Her intention was to bring the house back to its original state to when David Hogan's great grandfather, James, married into the farm in 1867.

She gutted the entire house from the floorboards all the way up to the leaky roof, which was removed for about two months, making for some interesting family experiences. From literally showering under the stars to enduring a torrential rainstorm inside a wet living room, Mary Ann Hogan said there's no forgetting the project.

"We had pots and pans in the living room, catching the water falling through the cracks of the floor above," she said, referring to an August rainstorm in the mid-1980s that soaked the house.

Houses of the Gatineau Hills
The current Hogan homestead, renovated and restored by Mary Ann and David Hogan. Photo courtesy Mary Ann Hogan.

The work really transformed the house from a square brick box to a large log farmhouse. The house was originally a logwalled structure which was later clad in fake brick. An extension that included a summer kitchen and five bedrooms was built around 1910 by David Hogan's father, Philip, but was later torn down around 1945. The Hogans have since replaced the extension.

The over 2,500-square-foot home has all sorts of small nooks and crannies that tell stories of earlier times. An old antique crank telephone hangs on the kitchen wall, and vintage photographs of earlier farm life dominate mantle and wall space.

"If this house could talk -oh man," said Mary Ann Hogan, punctuating the reference to the building as a five-generation storehouse of history.

The home also boasts two living rooms, a large kitchen, a library and history-themed rooms such as the Titanic Room and the John F. Kennedy room, both of which showcase treasured memorabilia. Outside the house, the Hogans have created a teenagers' paradise, complete with endless camping space, a basketball and tennis court, a hockey rink in the winter and ample grounds for baseball. The farm became the teen hangout for the couple's four children through the 1990s and 2000s, from get-togethers to large grad parties. Now, with their first grandchild starting to walk, the Hogans are ready to relive some of their old memories.

The Hogan home is grouped with 35 other "Century Cantley Homes" that are more than 95 ' years old. Cantley 1889, a historical society, is compiling an inventory of the century homes in order to preserve and tell the stories of the community.

For more information, contact Cantley 1889 Director Bob McClelland at 819-827-0540.

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