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ArchivesChildhood home of James Naismith has a new owner

Childhood home of James Naismith has a new owner

Naismith HouseThe Naismith House, on County Road 29 between Almonte and Pakenham, is the boyhood home of James Naismith the inventor of basketball and was recently sold. Naismith was born on the property (in another house that was destroyed), and then, in 1870 after his parents died of typhoid, returned with his siblings Annie and Robert to live with their grandmother and uncle Peter Young in the stone house built by his grandfather (completed around 1855). James lived in the house from about age 9 through 22, when he completed high school and enrolled at McGill. Also of interest is the fact that R. Tait McKenzie (Mill of Kintail was his retirement home) also lived in the house with his boyhood friend while his parents traveled in Europe. Naismith went on to invent the game of basketball in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1891.

The stone house on the property is provincially designated as a heritage home by the Ontario Heritage Trust, by Mississippi Mills Heritage, and by LACAC Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee.

The new owners of the Naismith House, Janice Mathers and Joel Schramek, will live in the residence on the property and are designing plans to convert the barn and out buildings into an event venue (“Evermore”) to host weddings/receptions and other special events from April through October each year. Janice is an event planner; Joel a photographer.

The large red barn is a roughly 120 year old post-and-beam structure that is wide open and can accommodate numerous guests for a sit-down dinner and dancing. One of the outbuildings will be converted to a full commercial kitchen and another building is to be redesigned into a bridal suite. The central courtyard will be fully landscaped and designed for outdoor use during celebrations. Other areas surrounding the barn will also be developed into a picturesque pastoral scene with the fields continuing to be cultivated by area farmer Donnie Cochran.

Janice and Joel are enthusiastic about the opportunities their new enterprise will bring to Almonte and the complementary services available in the village (B & B’s, restaurants, shops, etc.) that will help to make their new business successful. Contact: 613-552-1424 or 613-890-2870.

Elisabeth de Snaijer and Rick Edwards had owned the house for 11 years and have moved onto Malcolm Street in town. During their time at the property, they hosted the weddings of Elisabeth’s two daughters, Caroline (to Jeroen Henrich of Montreal) in 2006 and Emma (to Jarret Brown of Almonte) in 2013. A fire in 2006 (six months before the planned wedding) resulted in a renovated kitchen and new roof over a portion of the house. Fortunately, the Mississippi Mills Fire Department arrived quickly and skillfully managed to put out the fire before the house was lost.




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