Westove - This house was built by the Stricklands in 1862, as a one-and-a-half storey frame house. It was immediately bought for Catharine Parr Traill, widowed in 1859, who lived in it for the rest of her life. She wrote some of her best work here.
The house features elements common to houses of the period.
The centre gable top is not - a departure from the norm - positioned over the door to ward off snow, but placed mid roof simply to permit a window to bring more light into the upper storey hall and stairway.
The gingerbread decorations - customary on 19th century homes of this type - along the edges of the gable roof lines, are much more simple than most, and feature no intricate tracery at all.
The roof is typically very steep to easily shed the heavy snowfall that was common in the days before global warming.
The front of the house above, faces the river which runs a few metres below. The back side of the house is above right. The small addition is very likely a much later construction, acting as a temperature buffer zone for going in and out in winter.
In Catharine's time, the main door would have been the front door facing the river. The lawn in front is where she would have sat out to do her knitting, writing, or just gazing at all the goings on below.
When Catharine died, she was buried in Hillside cemetery, among other Traills and Stricklands, left.
Her marker reads:
In Loving Memory of
Catharine Parr Strickland
of Westove Orkney
Born in Kent, Jan 9, 1862
Died in Lakefield, Aug. 29, 1899
Susanna Moodie, another famous Canadian author, was Catharine Parr Traill's sister - both were Strickland girls - sisters of Col. Sam Strickland, who was one of the founding fathers of Lakefield where his sisters and their husbands followed him to homestead in the 1830s.
Right, is the church, on the shore of the Otonabee River, background. Around the back of the church are also graves from the 1860s and others of Traills, and Stricklands. Col. Sam was buried here, as well, in 1867.
Catharine had just moved into Westove a few years before. From her front porch she could look across the river background and see the grave of her brother and the church where she attended his funeral.