Pritchard House demolished
By Chad Ingram
The ground shook as the stone that had encased the Pritchard House for decades fell from its place Monday.
Once home to the prominent family for which it is named, the house was built by Lawrence Pritchard, who was a reeve of Minden. It’s belonged to the township for a number of years.
The building’s stone facade was chipped away Monday, the rock being stored at a works yard for future use.
The house was demolished Tuesday.
Minden Hills councillors voted in November to raze the building, along with other aging township-owned structures including the Gelert hall, a work shed on that property and a rental house at 2 Prince St.
The decision has been an unpopular one with many Minden residents, who’ve expressed their displeasure in letters to the editor and on social media.
“A shame,” wrote one reader on Facebook. “This is a part of history.”
“Not a good idea,” wrote another. This is a piece of history, my history.”
Closed to the public since 2008, the house was last used as a headquarters for local spinners and weavers.
A number of concerns, including lack of accessibility requirements, prompted the buildings closure.
In 2009, it was estimated the building would need nearly $200,000 worth of work to be brought up to a useable condition.
The township spent about $15,000 removing asbestos from both the Pritchard House and the Gelert hall before the buildings were demolished.
It is unclear at this time what the property will be used for. The house the township owned at 2 Prince St. was located directly next to the Pritchard House and with the exception of one privately held piece of land, the township owns the rest of the block between Prince Street and Pritchard Lane. The other public building on the stretch, the fire hall, will no longer be required once Minden Hills constructs a new fire hall on property it has purchased from the county along Highway 35.