Saturday, November 23, 2013

Dorchester, now René Lévesque Boulevard - A Little History

More stories from my 'hood.

When I head south for my walk, I pass by these properties which are a mere ten minutes from my flat and situated side by side. Yesterday, while I was taking these photos, I managed to flag down a young man walking to his car to ask him about these homes, whether they were still occupied, etc.

The first one (below) is the Judah House, also known as Villa Rosa, which dates to around 1874. Located at the corner of René Lévesque and Fort Street, this house was built for a lawyer named Frederick Thomas Judah, director of the Montreal City and District Savings Bank. The Judah family owned it until 1949 after which it was given to the Franciscans. It was originally part of the Franciscan Domain and there was a church next door, but sadly that burned down a couple of years ago.

The second house is the Maison Joseph-Wilfrid Antoine-Masson. It is a gorgeous baroque, house built around 1850, and one of the oldest still standing on Dorchester Avenue (renamed René Lévesque Boulevard.)

George Winks took over ownership of the house in 1860 and added a porch and mansard style roof, then it was John Hope, then George Hall, a coal baron. From 1934 until 1943 it was abandoned. The Franciscans bought it, and there are commercial tenants in there now.  Unfortunately the church between these two homes burned to the ground in 2010 and now there's just a big empty lot.

Read the article about the fire and see photos HERE.

Apparently there are still manicured Franciscan gardens in the back of both houses. That will be my next mission - find and photograph the secret gardens with Buddy the wonder sleuth.

Villa Rosa AKA the Judah House. One of my cameras converts photos to drawings, in camera.
The Judah House
Railing outside Joseph-Wilfrid Antoine-Raymond Masson House
Maison Joseph-Wilfrid Antoine-Raymond Masson House
More detail of the railing


Debby said...

There is something very sad about a grand house which sits empty and neglected. Which is what gets me in so much trouble down here.

A Novel Woman said...

They aren't empty! They are both being used.

Unknown said...

Beautiful! Thanks for sharing! And I hope you do get to sneak in to the gardens--Buddy is so cute, I'm sure they'd forgive your trespassing :)