TOO BAD DIMOCK HOUSE COULDN’T BE SAVED (January 6/09)

“A number of experts have looked at the house,” Wendy Elliott wrote in the December 9 Advertiser on the deregistering of Dimock House in Pereau, “but nobody was willing to go out on a limb about its age.”

If you look at the rather cursory archeological survey of Dimock House that was conducted some 20 years ago, you’d have to agree that Ms. Elliott, to use a cliché, hit the nail on the head. In the report of the survey, which was published in 1991 and is on file at Acadia University, the conclusions reached were nebulous, to say the least.

If the study on Dimock House had been more conclusive about its origin, or at least said there were Acadian features in the house, perhaps more would have been done by the government to help preserve it. The “curatorial report” on the survey suggested that further research was needed to determine the origin of Dimock House, and there was an “apparent conflict between the architectural elements.” It was a kind of wishy washy report and there was no follow up. I heard rumors that consideration was being given to testing the timbers in the house, to determine their age through carbon dating I suppose, but apparently nothing came of this.

Unfortunately, once the deregistering process is complete, it’s likely the house will be demolished. As Ms. Elliott reported in her Advertiser piece, the house is in sad shape and is practically falling down. Given its rapidly deteriorating condition, deregistration was the only practical way to go.

It’s too bad the house must go. Acadian in origin or not, Dimock House is ancient. Several years ago I talked with Melissa Dimock, the daughter of the current owners, and she told me the house has been in the family since 1873. Dimock also told me the house was built in such a way that it could have been taken apart and moved to another site quite easily. She also said that while they didn’t know the exact date, they were able to trace ownership of the house back to circa 1770.

The curatorial report, Nova Scotia Museum Curatorial Report 69, if you want to look it up at Acadia, suggested the possibility that the house may have been built by Acadians who returned to this area after the expulsion, and was later added to by later owners. An earlier search of deeds revealed that in 1796, the house was owned by a man with an Acadian surname.

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