Preserving and Promoting local history for the former Rideau Township
Log Fence

Boy's Bedroom at the Dickinson House

Over its lifetime the house was lived in by only three families. Dickinson moved in with his family in 1870. His children continued to live there and operate the mill until 1928 when the house and mill were purchased by Alex Spratt. The Spratt family operated the mill and lived in the house until 1946 when the mill and the house, were purchased by Harry Watson. Harry and his family lived there until 1972 when the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority purchased both.

Coral explained the need for volunteers to act as costumed interpreters and greeters at the house this summer. A costumed interpreter is one who explains the exhibits to the visitors. Greeters obviously greet visitors as they enter the house, but also can work outside inviting visitors to the house; sort of a non-violent press gang. There are other roles for volunteers for those who choose not to work with the public, such as maintenance and promotion.

The evening finished up with a tour of the Dickinson House followed by refreshments and hosted by our costumed interpreters. For some it was the first time they had been in the house. Everyone seemed to enjoy the experience and it has gotten us off to a good start for the 2011 season.

The pictures in the article are current and give an idea of the sorts of displays this season’s visitors will see.  

       sewing room at the Dickinson House

 Sewing Room at the Dickinson House

The April meeting was all about the Dickinson House. The RTHS is at the beginning of our fourth year of programming and operations at the house after the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority moved out. The first three years are considered to have been quite successful with of the order of 4,000 visitors in each. As usual RTHS has been planning for something new for the coming season to “keep them coming back”. Brian Earl and Coral Lindsay made presentations at the meeting to share our latest ideas and try to interest members and visitors to the meeting to consider helping out as volunteers during the coming summer.

    Dining Room at the Dickinson House

The dining room at the Dickinson House

In his presentation Brian gave the spiel that he uses in greeting visitors at the door of the house. In it he introduces the house as being built by Dickinson in the mid-1860s. Originally it was attached to the Currier cottage which among other functions served as the kitchen and dining room for the house. Over the first 40 or 50 years or so the house itself served as a residence, a general store, a telegraph office, and a post office. Not only was it one of the very first houses in Manotick, it served the village in many ways over the years.  

       Master Bedroom at the Dickinson House

 

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The Dickinson House

Presenters:  Coral Lindsay & Brian Earl

Article by Ron Wilson, Pictures by Maureen McPhee