2017-11-08

Historic Liverpool home up for tax sale after falling into disrepair

by Brittany Wentzell

  • <p>PHOTO COURTESY TIM MCDONALD</p><p>This photo of the home is thought to have been taken around 1900.</p>
  • <p>PHOTO COURTESY TIM MCDONALD</p><p>Dr. Henry Farish was the original owner of the home though after he passed away, several doctors made their home and office there.</p>
  • <p>BRITTANY WENTZELL PHOTO</p><p>The property is now in a state of disrepair and has been cited as dangerous and unsightly.</p>
  • <p>BRITTANY WENTZELL PHOTO</p><p>Ornate carvings around the peak of the house.</p>

It's a historic home that housed Liverpool doctors for over 100 years and survived several devastating town-wide fires, but now the old Gothic Revival style house is up for tax sale.

Known locally as the "Farish" house, the Victorian period house was built around 1866 for Dr. Henry Farish. The building served as both his family home and office.

"A house like that with such strong history, a good history, and to see it fall into disrepair like that is just a little disappointing,"said Linda Rafuse, manager of the Queens County Museum.

"He always traveled on horseback. The saddlebags were always filled with his medical and surgical instruments and it just sounds like he was a great doctor."

Farish was well-known in Liverpool for not just his kindness but his love of history - writing an unpublished book titled Reminisces of Liverpool which documented early homes, geography and inhabitants of Liverpool. The only copy remains in the Queens County Museum.

"It's everything he ever knew or could find out about the street that he lived on, from Fort Point up to ... his house there, any business or anybody who was ever on that street, he wrote about it," said Rafuse.

Farish also loved the Old Burial Ground on Main Street, helping to turn it into a park, complete with paths, most of which no longer exist in the over 250-year-old graveyard.

Rafuse says it's sad to see the home of someone who cared so much for the history of the town possibly be lost.

"Isn't it really quite a shame that no one looked after his house?"

After Farish died, the house continued to house doctors in town including Dr. John C. Wickwire for much of his career. Wickwire also served as a Progressive Conservative MLA for Queens as well as a town councillor. The Dr. John C. Wickwire Academy, the local elementary that serves South Queens, is named for the doctor.

Since then, Rafuse says several doctors, new to Queens, moved into the space over the years, setting up their first offices in the back part of the home and living in the front.

The home also survived several large blazes around the turn of the century that destroyed many of the buildings around it.

Architecturally the house looks like a typical Gothic Revival style home, but with some unique features such as stained glass windows and a decorative archway over its peaked roof and pointed window.

Eventually the house was turned into a rental property until it became vacant and fell into disrepair. It's up on the tax block for unpaid municipal taxes, sewer fees, and charges related to having had the Region of Queens Municipality declare it as dangerous and unsightly.

The building was last assessed to Mortgaged Opportunities, which is based in Halifax.

The Farish house will be sold at a public auction in the council chambers of the Region of Queens Municipality building at 249 White Point Road, Liverpool on November 29, 2017 at 10:00 a.m.

The opening bid on the house is $7,084 to pay for those fees.

"I hope somebody buys it and does something nice with it," said Rafuse.

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