LETTER: A little house on Hazeldean

The small house on the Bradley-Craig property on Hazeldean Road. January 2017.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: It was a year ago this week that I joined several community members at a Planning Committee meeting at Ottawa City Hall to oppose Richcraft’s proposal to move the Bradley-Craig barn to Munster. Unfortunately we were not successful, and now Richcraft has until January 2018 to complete the move.  Since last January, I’ve heard from a lot of people with stories, memories and questions about the farm. Here’s an interesting story about the tiny house that’s on the west side of the barn.  I’m sharing this letter anonymously at the request of the writer, out of respect for her family’s privacy. -GG.)

I love that you invited photographers to the BradleyCraig property to take pictures of the barn and farmhouse. The pictures are beautiful. I hate the idea of the barn moving away, and of the little house likely being torn down (I can’t see them moving it). It is outrageous that developers get way with so much. Just so that they can build other bunch of cookie-cutter houses, no doubt.

I grew up in the small hired hand’s house next to the farmhouse. At one point there were seven of us living in it: my grandfather, grandmother, mother, father and three kids. But this little house was not located on Hazeldean Road back then.
The house used to be on Perth St. in Richmond, built by my father and grandfather, and it was picked up and moved to Hazeldean Road when I was about 11 years old. My parents had constructed a new home next to it on the Richmond property. I can still remember seeing the old house being driven away on a flatbed or farm wagon. It was used to lodge hired farmhands. The house was moved to Hazledean in 1960.
I was – and still am – extremely curious to see what the inside looks like now and how it compares to my memories. I’m sentimental, I guess, and I know the house won’t be there forever.
The small house on the Bradley-Craig property on Hazeldean Road. January 2017. The small house on the Bradley-Craig property on Hazeldean Road. January 2017.

12 thoughts on “LETTER: A little house on Hazeldean”

  1. Fantastic piece of local history.
    That house has been on the farm as long as I can remember (which is after 1960 mind you!). It is great to know it came from Perth Street.

  2. It was a gut-wrenching disappointment that the barn could not remain and be lovingly preserved and incorporated into whatever new development is planned. Thank you for your efforts on behalf of the barn. Much appreciated, GG!

  3. A great story of interest to many ! Now can anyone produce a photograph of it in Richmond, and any of it being moved ? ? .

  4. Re the Little House, I too would love to have a look inside……..I have driven past that farm property for years and years and for many of them, always admired the showy flowerbeds at the front of the property. It’s a shame that both houses can’t be preserved where they are, where they were the backdrop for so many memories…….

  5. Since there is no hired help when there is no working farm, who lives in it now? The last hired hand that was or Richcraft the landlord and it is rented to anyone from year to year? It does not seem like there is anyone in the big brick house but it looks like it has been maintained and lawn cut. What is known about it?

    1. Thanks for your note Sandy. Not sure if anyone is living there now – a year or two ago I sometimes saw lights on in the building and there was a car that would come and go. I haven’t seen anyone there in a while.

  6. I went to public school and high school with Brian Craig and worked on the farm for two summers during haying season. I think the hired hand living in the little house at the time was named Joe, but that was almost 50 years ago and I can’t be positive. I don’t think I ever went inside. I did spend a lot of time in the barn and in the farmhouse.

    The Craig’s also owned a house across Hazeldean Road that was rented out. There was a small barn where chickens were kept and strawberries were grown in a field out front. This property was consumed by the Grant Crossing shopping plaza.

    Mr Craig rented the farm next door (west) and kept cattle in the barn that was there. The farmhouse was rented out by the property owner to a family called Dingwall. When that land was bought up the barn and house were quickly demolished.

    I enjoyed my time on the farm working and also playing. there are many childhood memories attached to it. I’ve lost contact with the Craig family and was sorry not to be able to attend Mr. Craig’s memorial service. I am sorry also to see a piece of my past lost to the juggernaut that is real estate development. I am disturbed how much productive land is being lost to urban sprawl.

    1. It is so sad to see the loss of farms and the land. I passed that property for thirty years when I worked in Bayshore and the at the Hazeldean Mall. I do hope they will save the buildings there. It’s an iconic site to see that big red barn in the midst of urban sprawl.

    2. I am one of the Dingwalls that lived on the farm next door, which was originally the homestead of William and Henry Bradley. We lived there for over nine years (1967-76) and, like Robert Postma, attended public and high school in the area. We rented the house from a man by the name of Mr. Kizell, while Eldon Craig rented the rest of the farm, planting crops and grazing cattle and horses. At one time, in the late 60s/early 70s, Eldon had three horses – Danny, Tina and Flick. I spent many hours over those years at the Craigs’, playing with the Craig children, Brian and Debbie, and remember many meals there. Norma (Bradley) Craig, Eldon’s wife, bred and showed Boston Terriers for years. She had a small kennel and run just behind the house, and they always kept one or two terriers as pets.

      Upon Mr. Kizell’s death around 1975/76, our farm was sold to Delzotto Real Estate. We were given notice to move out and Eldon was given notice to vacate the barns and land. I remember spending almost an entire night, along with my family, Eldon, his hired men Joe Bernard and Halsey Hill, removing all the hay from the mow and the animals, equipment and tools from the barns. It was a very difficult time.

      After we moved out, John Steenbakker (of Steenbakker’s Lumber, Bells Corners) moved his family in. A few years later the farm house and barns were demolished.

      I will always have very fond and vivid memories of our time on that farm, and am glad that I knew the Hazeldean as it was in the beginning. Now it is very disheartening to see all that wonderful farmland and classic old farmhouses disappearing in a concrete jungle.

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