Ingledale House | A Hidden Gem
Editorial & Photography By: Dr. Christopher Cooper Editor-in-Chief
The lyrics of the Todd Rundgren’s hit song “I don’t want to work, I want to bang on the drum all day” — fills my head and senses owing to the pleasant distraction of a perfect warm sunny day in mid October! You see… my lovely wife recently secured a season’s pass for the Hamilton Regional Conservation Authority and has been telling me that there is a place to get back to nature just near Stoney Creek, Ontario! So off to the Fifty Point Conservation area we go (along with our twelve-year-old daughter). After securely stowing that drum away we spent the day walking the well-groomed trails and paths and hunting for beach glass on the wide sandy beach.
We were here for a walkabout in nature, hoping to have the good fortune of finding a piece of that holy grail of holy grails — a dime sized piece of cobalt blue beach glass (in which my twelve year old daughter was overjoyed to find) never thinking that my passion for heritage architecture would collide in such a delightful manner!
We came across a foot bridge over a small pond to the wonderous splendor that lay before us… one of the oldest wood framed houses in Ontario (referencing what is now the north red clapboard kitchen ell), built in 1815 by John and Magdalena Inglehart, who emigrated to Saltfleet Township (now Stoney Creek, Ontario), in 1798 with several other Pennsylvania German settlers.
When John Inglehart died in 1835, his son Jacob built the brilliantly proportioned two-storey Neoclassical timber framed house to the south after bifurcating the original 1815 Georgian that same year. With charming yellow painted clapboards, beautiful 12 over 12 sash windows on the front and west side elevations it is an architourist’s delight. The jewel in the crown of this splendid building is the 12 over 12 sash windows flanking the central door (where in most Neoclassical design would favour sidelights) with the second floor duplicated for symmetry. Usually, Neoclassical houses follow the form of its earlier interpretation, the Georgian (which the original 1815 house in the rear did) with a typical five-bay symmetry. However, in this case the house is decidedly asymmetrical with the central window and door arrangement.
The Neoclassical treatment of architectural details are enhanced by the use of gable end returns, repeat pattern dentil mouldings in the eaves, scaled down for the front portico and balcony, to provide simplistic almost austere beauty and symmetry. The second floor plain Tuscan pilasters are topped with a magnificent built-up moulded hood indicative of this most remarkable architectural style. The house is truly a textbook example of all that is good with respects to the Neoclassical form. This house would make a perfect pattern for a modern “New/Old” house today.
And on an interesting final note, family folklore alleged that just after the Rebellion of 1837, William Lyon McKenzie, who was fleeing to the United States, was hidden by the Inglehart family in a space between the floor joists covered by some un-nailed floorboards in the oldest part of the house. If old McKenzie hadn’t died in Toronto in 1861 and went by the way of Jimmy Hoffa, I would suggest looking under those floorboards!
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SIDEBAR: Saltfleet Twp. in historical WENTWORTH Co.
One of the lakefront townships crowded with orchards below the escarpment and procuring excellent grain on the plateau. It was opened in 1792 and named from a port town in Lincolnshire. Probably the name was suggested by the existence of several salt-water springs in the bed of Big Creek. The first patents were granted on May 6th, 1796 to James Wilson, Lots 25 and 26, Broken Front; Thomas Bailey, Lot 22 B.F., and Lot 22, Concession 1; Ebenezer Jones on Concession 3, and James Gage on Concessions 3 and 4. It is said that the first settler was Levi Lewis, who came to Lot 1, Concession 2, on May 16th, 1798. In 1815 there were 102 householders in the township. Stoney Creek battlefield is within the boundaries of the township.
Source: Jesse E. Middleton, The Province of Ontario: a History: 1615-1927, published 1927
The Saturday Globe September 22, 1894
Ingledale was purchased in 1890 by a Jonathon Carpenter. The 170 acre farm is described in the Saturday Globe (Sept 22, 1894) as “a veritable paradise, Its proximity to the lake, on the shores of which is a fine bit of wood, between the home and the lake. There are 21 acres in fruit, 13 acres of which is a thrifty young peach orchard… Stock raising is a labour of love on Mr. Carpenter’s part and his only regret is that he did not begin much earlier in life, for it has been a pronounced success.” In 1971 the house and surrounding lands were bequeathed to the Hamilton Regional Conservation Authority and is now part of Fifty Point Conservation Area.