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Two Homes Receive Heritage Designation

Information and most photos provided by
Nancy Morand, City of Windsor Heritage Planner

827 Esdras Place, a French farm house,
after its move from Riverside Drive in 1915

The house in 2002

In November 2003, owners of two city homes received bronze plaques during a presentation at Windsor City Hall, to commemorate the designation of their homes under the Ontario Heritage Act. Michael and Nicole Seguin were honoured for their 1852 home at 827 Esdras Place in East Windsor and Dr. Norman and Beverly Marshall were recognized for their 1937 home at 2077 Willistead Crescent in Olde Walkerville.

827 Esdras Place
This unique house is one of the few remaining French farmsteads in Windsor. It is a rare physical link to a significant era of Windsor’s development, made all the more important as with the passing of years, other French farmsteads disappear from our riverfront. The home was built around 1852 by a French settler and farmer Esdras Parent, son of Laurent Parent who, in 1800, became the first settler on the land. The house was moved south one block from its original riverfront location in 1913 in order to be subdivided for urban development.

827 Esdras is a one and a half story wood frame farmhouse. The northerly section (c.1852) predates the southerly ell (c.1890). Architectural elements of note include the log construction, hand hewn beams, fifteen-inch floor planks, handmade nails and the beaded tongue and groove pine floor in the dining room.

Esdra Parent home was orginially situated
on the Detroit River. Here, an unidentified family sits on the front steps. (pre 1910)

The Parent Farm had significant involvement in the 1838 Battle of Windsor. It is purported to be the landing spot of the 250-300 “patriots” (exiled Canadians and Americans supporters bent on liberating Canada from British rule in the rebellion of 1837-38 in Upper Canada), who then marched three miles west to Windsor where a battle took place on the Baby Farm (Francois Baby house – currently Windsor’s Community Museum at 254 Pitt Street West in downtown Windsor). The Parent family retrieved guns and other items abandoned by the “patriots” in their haste to flee back across the river.
A drum flag is now on display at Fort Malden. Former owner Peter Chittim retains other artifacts (guns, power horns) given to him by descendants of the Parent family.

Current owners Michael and Nicole Seguin, who purchased the home in 1997, have been restoring many heritage elements of the Esdras building since that time.

Beams Sawn by Hand
Hand-hewn beams were used in the construction of the Esdras farm house. Hand-hewing was a process used in historical times to form tree timbers into structural beams. Farmers would strike timbers with an adze or broad axe. This process would leave obvious striking marks up and down the beam, but it was the only means farmers had to process them. If they were lucky, they lived near a river strong enough to produce power and may have been able to use a saw. "Re-sawn" timbers are a rough cut, but still much smoother than hand-hewing. Today, hand-hewn beams are the most sought after product in the antique wood industry.

2077 Willistead Crescent, sketch by Robert Rudkin, 1993

2077 Willistead Crescent
This lovely Tudor Revival style home is illustrative of the fine residential homes built on Willistead Crescent during the 1920s. During the first half of the twentieth century, living on Willistead Crescent projected an image of social prestige and status in the Walkerville neighbourhood. The house was built in 1937 for Dr. Roy J. Coyle, a prominent eye, ear, nose and throat specialist, who practiced in Windsor for thirty years until his death in 1954 at the age of 55.

Original plans for the 2 and a half story, red brick house are still in existence. It was designed by John H. Dury and constructed by Lawton Bilt Hornes of Windsor. It has typical features of a Tudor Revival style home inclduing asymmetrical massing, ornamental half-timbering, an entrance tower, prominent gabled ells, and expansive windows with small panes.

Mary Anne Coyle (born 1936) and Bill Coyle (born 1938) stand in front of the Coyle home in 1942

(photo submitted by their brother, Dr. Jim Coyle)

The Coyle family occupied the house until 1988, when it was purchased by Dr. Norman and Beverly Marshall. Dr. Jim Coyle of North Carolina remembers the home vividly. “My parents, Dr. R. J. Coyle and my mother Dorothy F. Coyle, had this home built for them in 1937 and completed in 1938 when they moved in. My father died in 1954 and my mother continued to live in the home until the fall of 1987 when she sold it to the Marshalls. I spent most of my life in that home, coming back in the summers from Queen’s medical school.”

Tudor Revival Homes
The name “Tudor” suggests that these houses imitate English architecture from the early 16th century. However, most Tudor style homes were inspired by building techniques from an earlier time. Some Tudor houses mimic humble Medieval cottages; they may even include a false thatched roof.

Tudor style homes usually have these features:

  • Steeply pitched roof
  • Thick walls
  • Prominent cross gables
  • Dark textured interiors
  • Tall, narrow windows
  • Small window panes
  • Massive chimneys, often topped with decorative chimney pots
  • Decorative half-timbering - A “half-timbered” building has exposed wood framing. The spaces between the wooden timbers are filled with plaster, brick, or stone. In the North America, harsh winters made half-timbered construction impractical. The plaster and masonry filling between the timbers could not keep out cold drafts. Builders began to cover exterior walls with wood or masonry.

In North America, Tudor styling takes on a variety of forms ranging from elaborate mansions to modest suburban homes with mock masonry veneers. The style became enormously popular in the 1920s and 1930s, and modified versions became fashionable in the 1970s and 1980s.

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