Thursday, 9 October 2014

"A Nice Tasty Cottage"

Horaceville. Hal Miller for the Ottawa Journal, May 31, 1941,
Taken from the Pinhey's Point Foundation website
For those who do not know, our first project for our digital history class is a digital landscape project which requires us to choose an area or a building and demonstrate how it changed over time using the digital tools of our choice. For my project, I have chosen Horaceville at Pinhey's Point in Ottawa. The site is part of the City of Ottawa Museum Network and is located at 270 Pinhey’s Point Road, Dunrobin, Ontario.

This house was built by Hamnett Kirkes Pinhey, an English immigrant who arrived in 1820. He was one of the first settlers in March Township. He designed his Georgian style stone manor to be an imposing figure on the Ottawa River riverbank, but it was only in 1849 that the house was completed.

The first part of the house was a two storey log cabin covered in clapboard.This is where the Pinhey family settled. When the Earl of Dalhousie came to visit in 1821, he referred to this house as a "nice tasty cottage with veranda".

Soon after the visit, Hamnett built a large stone attachment onto his wood house. Completed in 1822, this was primarily a ballroom/parlour on the first floor and bedrooms or servant's quarters on the second floor.

Sketch of Horaceville by Marry Anne Pinhey ca. 1830
The next two additions were not added until the 1840s. The central part of the house was added in 1841 and includes the hall, complete with grand staircase, the dining room, a second kitchen and a master bedroom. The house was finally completed in 1849 with the addition of a drawing room and a study on the first floor and bedrooms on the second floor.

Upon his death, Hamnett left the house to his children and it remained in the family until the death of the last occupant, Ruth Pinhey (Hammett's great-granddaughter), in 1971. Ruth had been living there alone for the latter part of her life and when she passed, the house went to her nephew who sold it to the Township of March.

Because of the declining fortunes of the family, the house had fallen into disrepair and eventually the original wooden section of the house was dismantled.The remainder of the house had major restoration work done during the' 80s and '90s and the property is now maintained by the City of Ottawa.

Ruins of the original kitchen
I intend to bring the former glory of this house back to life by making a 3D model of it in Sketchup. Using floorplans and pictures, I will attempt to recreate all the stages of construction and the building's interior and exterior as faithfully as possible. To showcase my work, I will make a video tour of the house which chronicles the different stages of construction and deterioration.

My first step is to familiarize myself with Sketchup. Afterwards, I will make a preliminary model based on floor plans of the house. I will continue to model each stage of the building of the house so that they can be seen separately from the whole. When the 3D modeling is complete, I will attempt to furnish the interior and add colour and texture to the house to make it more realistic and visually interesting. When this is done, I will shoot a video tour of the inside and outside of the house and of the different stages of construction and then edit it to make a short movie.

Pinhey's Point Spring 2013
The results of this project are geared towards museum visitors and anyone who is interested in the site. I intend to upload the video to YouTube so that everyone can have access to it and I hope to publish the 3D reconstruction of the modern house on Google earth for people to enjoy.

Works consulted:
Pinhey's Point Foundation website,

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