Historic Blanche House at Petrolia Discovery to be dismantled

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One of Petrolia’s most recognizable historic house, is coming down.

Monday, Petrolia council agreed with a request from the Petrolia Heritage Committee and Petrolia Discovery to take Blanche House – also known as The Blue House – which sits on the grounds of Petrolia Discovery off the municipal heritage registry.

Discovery has a contractor willing to take down the building and salvage some of the materials.

Liz Welsh, chair of the Petrolia Heritage Committee, says the home is in disrepair and has become too expensive to fix.

“It is in quite a state of disrepair and hazards,” says Welsh. “Sometime in 2015, it was estimated it would take $100,000 plus to bring it up to code and to make it safe.

“Currently, we’re not sitting in a situation to do any of those repairs and probably won’t be for a good long time.”

Welsh says Discovery and Hertiage Committee asked council to begin the repeal of designation process to take the building off the municipal heritage registry.

“We have an opportunity for a salvage company to come in and perhaps…realize some revenues,” she says.

The Blue House was built in 1887 according the registry. It was moved 2002, when Charlotte Eleanor Englehart Hospital wanted to expand its parking.

Town council suggested the building be moved to Petrolia Discovery.

It was used as office space for the historic site and a welcome centre for the site in its heyday.

But the building had fallen into disrepair, along with the rest of the site. The foundation needed repairs as did the roof. And it needed to be brought up to the building code according to County of Lambton inspectors who were on site in 2015 at the request of the town, which had become partners with the Discovery board as the historic site struggled.

New leadership has taken over the site and is slowly refurbishing some of the buildings and the Fitzgerald Rig. But The Blue House, they say, is beyond repair now.

When it was originally designated, officials pointed to the tall vertical windows including some with stained glass as a unique feature of the building. It also noted the classical columns on the porch and the salt box roof with a decorative frieze.

Councillors agreed to the move, removing the building from the municipal heritage register.

Anyone with concerns can appeal the decision in the next 30 days.