(ABOVE: Cathy Lytle stands in front of her family’s home at 1495 Stittsville Main Street. Photo by Devyn Barrie.)
After more than a century on Stittsville Main Street, the Lytle House is up for sale. The asking price is $499,000 according to Brent Taylor of Brentcom Realty. “Redevelopment ideal for retail, service commercial, office, residential and institutional uses, including mixed-use buildings, and excluding auto-related uses,” says the listing.
It’s a large lot, 100 feet along the street and 160 feet deep.
Cathy Lytle says the house has been standing since at least 1900, and it’s been in her family for 64 years. While it doesn’t have a heritage designation, it is on the city’s heritage registry. That doesn’t give it any protection, but if a future owner applies to demolish it, the City could do a review that could lead to full heritage designation.
DEVYN BARRIE: What can you tell me about the history of the house?
CATHY LYTLE: It was built in 1900 from a bachelor and it was sold four years later to a young couple… he was a tinkerer and they raised their daughter, Evelyn. She took cancer and died and then the father died of old age and the mother died after she sold the house to my parents… she lived with my parents for five years, she had herself written into the deed, for one bedroom and three meals a day and they got along fine, until she passed away.
DB: It must have been something to grow up here and watch the town change all around it, hey?
CL: It’s not the [same] town anymore. Doesn’t matter which window you look out, it’s not the same at all. It’s funny, we were just saying I can remember all the places we used to go and play and climb trees and whose farmer fields we used to run through. And I said, now people look at you and say “well no, there was something else” or “No, no that was just all field.”
But yeah, [there have] been changes, it’s been hard on some of the older ones to see some of the changes.
DB: What’s it been like for you?
CL: I’m okay with some of the change, I just don’t like people coming in and telling me how to live. They want certain things changed here… but you’re taking away the essence of a small town.
DB: Why sell the house?
CL: Oh, we can’t afford to keep everything up. [My mother is] 87, she’s not well. My dad was a small contracting excavator, he left her a little bit of money, she was only on old age pension, she can only do so much. I only work part time and I work a minimum wage job… I can’t afford it. So, we decided to go to something that we both can manage and enjoy.
DB: How does it feel to have to leave this house behind?
CL: I’m okay. I’m ready. And I think she’s ready too. She’s had [a longer time] here, she’s raised her family and I was born here. We’re all business and everybody else has gone out and done better, this will help pay for some medical bills coming down the road…
… It’ll be sad in a way, but we have our memories, we have our pictures and they can’t take that away from us.
DB: Any idea what might happen to the house if it does get sold?
CL: We’ve had a business here for 40 years, like everybody else on Main Street. They had their house and their business right there. Last 20 years my dad’s been dead and we got rid of the business, so it’s kinda nice to think that somebody else will come in and make a go of it… maybe put something in like an ice cream store or something that reflects the core, not an office building or something. But it’s up to them.
DB: What do you think about the state of Main Street in general today?
CL: Well, when I grew up there was no sidewalks. It was a main highway… the traffic was heavy but now… you can’t sit outside, it’s hard to hear outside, the dust picks up, people come in on either side of you… it’s changed a lot compared to what I used to play, run and climb every tree in this place. It was a lot different… I watch the kids over in the park, but it’s not the same. We used to like the trains coming in and watching the people and wave, you don’t do that anymore. You can’t, there’s nothing there. And these people who are using the park don’t understand what was really there and I think they would have enjoyed it a lot better.
This interview was originally heard on Stittsvegas. Click here to listen to the full interview…