Oldest house in Knowlton, Quebec slated for demolition

A golf club in Knowlton, Quebec has received the go-ahead to tear down the 1815 home of Paul Holland Knowlton, the founder of the village in the Eastern Townships. Citizens, however, hope to save the historic home by dismantling and rebuilding it on the grounds of the Brome County Historical Society.

The historical society already has six historic buildings on its property and has agreed to take the Knowlton home only if citizens raise enough money to cover all costs. The golf club has offered to contribute up to $20,000 toward the cost, provided citizens raise enough money to reconstruct it on another site within one year. If not, the club will demolish it. The cost to move and re-build the home could be under $100,000.

Knowlton House. Photograph by Marie-France Coallier, The Gazette.

Knowlton House. Photograph by Marie-France Coallier, The Gazette.

Matthew Farfan, executive director of the Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network said, “Removing the house from its historical context vastly diminishes its value as a heritage site.” On the other side of the argument, Mayor Richard Burcombe said the house is too dilapidated to be worth saving and there are other buildings associated with Paul Holland Knowlton, such as his grist mill.

Paul Holland Knowlton was born in Newfane, Vermont in 1787. At age 28, he settled just outside the future town of Knowlton and later relocated to present-day Knowlton, where he founded a sawmill, store and grist mill. He became a prominent politician, militia leader, and newspaper publisher. He also founded the area’s first high school in 1854.

Knowlton is known for its Loyalist history and is one of the prettiest towns in Quebec. It is located about 100 kilometres from Montreal.

For more information or to contribute to the restoration project, email blkbart@sympatico.ca.

Read more about the Knowlton home and its owner in the Montreal Gazette and in the Gazette‘s sidebar, History of the Knowlton House.

Visit the Brome County Historical Society’s website for information about the society’s heritage buildings, artifacts, and archives.

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About Gail Dever

Gail Dever is a Montreal-based genealogist and blogger and a webmaster for the British Isles Family History Society of Greater Ottawa.
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