On April 1st the Old Sydney Society had its suspicions confirmed – the duplex on Charlotte Street that had been destroyed by fire last summer was in fact the oldest known building in the CBRM. After waiting a number of months for analyses from Mount Allison University, the final engineering, heritage and dendocronology evaluations established that the wood in the former residence (96-98 Charlotte) was in fact locally grown fur, spruce and hemlock dating back to 1780 (its last growth date).
This new finding contradicted previous theories on early-settlement in two regards – first the buildings erected under DesBarres in 1785 were long thought to be the oldest and second it was believed that the wood used in all early buildings was imported from the US. And so when Tom Wilson, Chair of the CBRM Heritage Advisory Committee, forwarded on a Fire Services demolition recommendation to Council at their April meeting, many in the Heritage Conservation District and heritage community were left both surprised and concerned.
“There is a lot of work to be done” says Peyton Chisholm, curator of the Old Sydney Society, “but that’s the case with all of the buildings we look at restoring – they are