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New Book Looks at Historic Townships Homes

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Anyone with more than a passing interest in the architecture and history of the Eastern Townships, in particular that part of the Townships bordering the U.S., will be interested to know that a new book has just been published on a type of architecture that, apart from the neighbouring states of New England, is quite unique to this part of Quebec.

The book, published in French this summer, is titled :Les Maisons à loggia des Cantons-de-l'Estlarger_loggia.houses.jpg un héritage à préserver. The 92-page, soft-cover volume, which is lavishly illustrated with contemporary and antique photographs, prints, diagrams and maps, is an in-depth look at residences in the Eastern Townships whose builders incorporated an unusual design feature known as a loggia, or recessed balcony.

The authors, Danielle Pigeon and Robert Lemire, have painstakingly traced the spread of these houses in the mid-1800s from Vermont, New Hampshire and elsewhere in New England, into the southern part of the Eastern Townships. By studying surviving as well as long-gone examples of this type of architecture, they show that the style was especially popular in the townships clustered around the border -- places like Stanstead, Barnston, Eaton, Compton, and Stanbridge, while other parts of the region with close ties to the U.S. -- places like Danville, for example -- saw their fair share, as well.

A number of these houses, some of them quite stunning, have survived. The Ruiter House in Ogden and the Morril House on Leroy Robinson Street in Stanstead, are particularly beautiful. The greatest concentrations of these houses, the authors point out, are in the Stanstead and Danville areas. In fact, the front cover of the book is illustrated with a photograph of the "twin" loggia houses on Phelps Street, in Stanstead, known locally as the Robinson and Baxter houses, while the back cover depicts an example in Danville, with the authors posing on the balcony.

Danielle Pigeon and Robert Lemire are architecture historians. Pigeon's book, The Walbridge Estate in Mystic, was published in 2007. Lemire has worked as a researcher at the Canadian Centre for Architecture and at the McCord Museum, both in Montreal.

Les Maisons à loggia des Cantons-de-l'Est sells for $24.00, shipping included. Payment should be addressed to Robert Lemire, C.P. 551, Danville, Quebec, J0A 1A0 or Danielle Pigeon, 975 Marie-Victorin, Verchères, Quebec, J0L 2R0.