Upgrades to Sifton House preserve 100s years of history

·2 min read

A local woman, along with her husband, is preserving history despite making renovations to a house that was in the Sifton family for years.

“It’s a different type of house,” said Arlene Melanson, who purchased the house on Talbot Trail. “It’s a large Georgian stone house, not too many in the area. And it has like a second balcony, on the second floor. So it is pretty original. I don’t see any other houses like it around.”

According to Melanson, the house carries centuries worth of history. The house, named Ellistone Farm, was built in 1901 by the Sifton family. She added Harry Sifton, who built the first subdivision in London, Ont., was born in the house.

“The house and the property go back probably way before 1814,” said Melanson. The original house still sits on the property built in around 1814 that was built by the Stewart’s. That house sits on top of our drive shed.”

When she went to look at the house when it was for sale, Melanson said a book about the Sifton family was on the dining room table.

“I started going through it, and that’s when I started doing all the history of the Sifton family,” added Melanson.

However, Melanson said she was attracted to the house long before she knew about the history attached to the house.

“It’s just a very unusual home to begin with. It has all the original woodwork still in the house. It’s never been painted. There are only a few things that have actually been changed in the house, so it is pretty original,” said Melanson.

When it comes to older houses, Melanson is no stranger. She has previously done renovations on homes built as early as 1850.

Despite her love for the house’s original aspects, Melanson admitted there were urgent updates that needed to be done.

“We had to redo the bathroom and the kitchen because of the plumbing,” said Melanson. “The upper deck porch and the lower porch on this home were completely rotten.”

According to Melanson, the house remains rather original despite the repairs.

The only thing that has been changed is the kitchen. The bathroom on the second floor was enlarged, but not by us. Also, the second staircase was taken out. And that’s probably about it,” said Melanson.

Bird Bouchard, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Ridgetown Independent News