History

Nugent Street Neglect: The Abandoned Corner Cottage

26 Nugent street, Thunder Bay Ontario | Alex Inspired

26 Nugent Street boasts a little corner cottage, facing the McVicar Creek. This property sprawls two lots and has the most beautiful bricked barn with a bright green door. Sadly this home has seen better days, and better owners. We decided to pop in at the open house (it was available for purchase last fall) and see what it had to offer.

Did you know this home has a very fascinating history? It’s a shame it has gone into such disrepair.

26 Nugent street, Thunder Bay Ontario | Alex Inspired

According to city records, the home was built in 1908, and it belonged to Louis Walsh – the coal tycoon. He also built McVicar Manor (1906) – where he lived most of his life.

26 Nugent street, Thunder Bay Ontario | Alex Inspired

The home (I think cottage is more appropriate) has two chimneys and a cross gabled roof, and now boasts a very sad facade.

Census records and Henderson’s Directories indicate that years later, Louis’ son Grenville (Gren) Walsh eventually lived in the cottage with his family. Further census records indicate his sister Phyllis Walsh also lived in the home.

26 Nugent street, Thunder Bay Ontario | Alex Inspired

The photo above is coming in from the side porch area, into what I assume would have been the dining room, which guides you into the kitchen.

26 Nugent street, Thunder Bay Ontario | Alex Inspired

My parent’s home on Court street also has this same type of kitchen flooring – what they call “Battleship linoleum“. As you can see, the kitchen is in terrible condition, along with all of the hardwood flooring.

26 Nugent street, Thunder Bay Ontario | Alex Inspired

The banister and stairs are one of the only original house features left in tact.

And look, here’s my dad! At one point (more recently than not) they closed off the opening underneath the stairs with this hideous knotty pine grossness. I believe the white cabinet may have been part of the original kitchen or dining room.

26 Nugent street, Thunder Bay Ontario | Alex Inspired

On the other side of the icky wall is a wood burning fireplace, with original light sconces.

26 Nugent street, Thunder Bay Ontario | Alex Inspired

And a beautiful coffered ceiling.

26 Nugent street, Thunder Bay Ontario | Alex Inspired

This cute builtin cabinet was found upstairs in a random spot. I am guessing some of the manipulation done to this home made it seem like it was in an obscure place.

26 Nugent street, Thunder Bay Ontario | Alex Inspired

The second floor master bedroom features a fireplace and access to the balcony overlooking the creek. I didn’t take many photos upstairs, it was too chopped up and confusing to document.

26 Nugent street, Thunder Bay Ontario | Alex Inspired

Back to the main floor sunroom… where this beautiful disaster sits.

26 Nugent street, Thunder Bay Ontario | Alex Inspired

Due to this disaster directly above.

26 Nugent street, Thunder Bay Ontario | Alex Inspired

So much potential – but so much cost. I love this house; sadly it needs new everything – furnace, plumbing, electrical, foundation, roof etc.

BUT the best part of this entire property, is the barn.

26 Nugent street, Thunder Bay Ontario | Alex Inspired

It’s gorgeous – red brick with all of the original horse stalls.

26 Nugent street, Thunder Bay Ontario | Alex Inspired

This next picture may look a little creepy, but I can assure you – it was awesome-sauce.

Nugent Street Neglect: The Abandoned Corner Cottage

The Walsh Family played a gigantic role in Port Arthur history. Not only were Louis and his brother Philip coal tycoons, they also were prominent community figures within the political and societal realms.

Louis and Philip Walsh, along with James and Harry Murphy took over the CPR coal contracts in the 1890s, establishing the Western Stevedore Company. The Walsh brother’s fortune blossomed, and they became landholders all over the city. Eventually they formed their own Company, The Louis Walsh Coal Co.

The Walsh Coal Company Envelope - found on Ebay | Alex Inspired

The Walsh block was constructed on the Corner of Arthur Street (Now Red River Road) and St. Paul. This building was victim to a massive fire in 1916, but was rebuilt and sold to the Zeller’s company in 1936.

Richard Grenville (Gren) Walsh was not only the owner to his father’s coal business after his death, he was also a Port Arthur Councillor (1926-1930) and a mayoral candidate (1951). He played large role in promotion of the automatic telephone dial service in the early forties and he served on the Public Utilities Commission as chairman, twice.

Although the cottage is in extremely forgone condition, I do hope the new owners see the beauty and the history this property holds. Perhaps, if we’re lucky, they’ll restore it OR replace it with something similar, fitting to the time period, utilizing many facets of the original home where the Walsh family lived.

Gren Walsh lived in the Nugent Street Cottage from 1926 until 1950.

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16 Comments

  • Reply Katherine Stewart February 18, 2017 at 10:16 pm

    We lived at 18 Nugent for a few years and a very strange lady (the sister???) lived in the cottage. I mentioned one day that it was a lovely house and she became very angry that I asked about the history of it!!!! Such a shame to see it in such disrepair. I wish I had known of the open house…I always wanted to see the interior!!! I do hope it can be restored!! \t is such a gem!!!!

    • Reply alex February 19, 2017 at 8:29 pm

      OOOO Katherine! that is very intriguing! I wonder if it was Phyllis? I will check Henderson’s again and let you know. Thanks for sharing your story! 🙂

  • Reply Karen Sherlock-Brennan February 19, 2017 at 8:27 am

    Do you know if it was sold and will be renovated? I have driven by it many times and have thought it would be beautiful if it was restored. It would be a shame if it was torn down. It has such a great location by the creek.

    • Reply alex February 19, 2017 at 8:30 pm

      Hey Karen! Rumor is, it has been sold. I have my fingers crossed it will be renovated, it’s such a beautiful spot. Thanks for stopping by and reading!

  • Reply Suvi February 19, 2017 at 3:51 pm

    I’ve loved this house since I was a kid. Ms. Vuorinen was a friend of the family and I was allowed to purchase the home before anyone as stated in her will, unfortunately no insurance company, even the high risk ones would touch it. I’ve always dreamed of restoring it to how it would have looked and thought I could since I finally had the chance but with that much damage I couldn’t get insurance for it 🙁

    • Reply alex February 19, 2017 at 8:31 pm

      Aw Suvi, that’s so sad. Imagine if insurance wasn’t an issue, I’m sure she’d have that house ship-shape. Thanks so much for commenting, I love learning about other people’s stories.

      • Reply Suvi February 25, 2017 at 1:00 pm

        Yeah unfortunately insurance was the o let thug stopping me from buying it, but I really hope whoever did/does will not tear it down.

  • Reply Jarron February 19, 2017 at 4:51 pm

    I actually inquired about it for purchase. The realtor mentioned that it was impossible to get home insurance on it, and consequently impossible to get a mortgage, so any purchase would have to be cash (I hope I paraphrased that correctly). Anyone interested in buying it will be in for a large, large investment. I really wanted to turn the stable/garage into a studio, oh well, it’s fun to dream.

    • Reply alex February 19, 2017 at 8:33 pm

      It would have been a freaking awesome studio!!!!! That space is the best part of the entire property 🙂

  • Reply Dorothy Stewart -Henderson. February 19, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    I second that Katherine . I hope someone puts life back in to it.

  • Reply alex February 19, 2017 at 8:33 pm

    I have my fingers and toes crossed too!

  • Reply Lorrie Walsh February 21, 2017 at 11:54 am

    This is my Great Grandparents house (Gren & Cass Walsh), it used to be so beautiful. I can probably dig up some old pictures of it back in the day. Such a shame it’s gone into such disrepair, I always wanted to buy it back and restore it 🙁

    • Reply alex February 21, 2017 at 3:26 pm

      Lorrie!! WOW!! I’M SOOOOO Glad you commented! I would LOVE to see photos – as I’m sure others would too! You have such a fascinating family history. It is such a shame, I’m sure your grandparents would have been so sad to see it this way 🙁

  • Reply Lorrie Walsh February 21, 2017 at 7:31 pm

    I thank you so very much for the awesome article! I shared it with my dad & grandma who spent a lot of time in that house. Really great to read about it.

  • Reply Susan Huey September 13, 2017 at 10:13 am

    Hi Alex! I was interested in who lived in the house in 1916? Was it Louise Walsh? Also do you have any more information about the fire. I’m doing my genealogy and I have record that my great grandfather and great grandmother lived at 26 Nugent St Port Arthur, with my grandmother on March 3, 1916. I’m wondering if my information could be inaccurate or if there is a chance Louise sold them this house. Thank you!

    • Reply alex September 13, 2017 at 6:08 pm

      WOW Susan! that’s incredible news! Well the fire, from my knowledge was in the Walsh block – But if I find more information I can get back to you!. Who were your grandparents? maybe the Henderson’s Directories have more information for us to explore!? if you want – drop me an email. alex@alexinspired.com

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