Historical blockhouse to receive a facelift

By Karen Fallon

The last remaining of three log blockhouses on Boblo Island received council’s financial support in respect to its restoration at Monday’s meeting.

Dr. Norm Becker, president of Becker Engineering provided council with a brief history on the blockhouse, built around1838 and brought them up-to-date with its restoration plan projected to cost approximately $158,000.00

Becker Engineering Group Inc. will be providing all of the engineering and management service required for the restoration on a pro bono basis.

This represents an “in-kind” donation of $28,000 towards the total funding needed.

Council also agreed to pay five percent of this cost for a total of $7,900, which will go to 2012 budget deliberations.

Funding is also being sought from senior levels of government and other sources.

In 1955 the blockhouse, describe by Becker as “the only remaining one in all of what was Upper Canada,” was designated as a heritage building.

A project such as this brings out “the young boy in all of us” says Becker because it conjures up visions of battles “won and lost.”

The member companies of the Becker Engineering Group Inc. have over the past 12 years completed a number of historic building restoration projects. Some of which have been in the Windsor-Essex County area and all of which have added up to the tune of approximately $8 million.

One of these undertakings involved Amherstburg’s Black Historical Museum.

“You are blessed indeed with all the heritage structures and important sites you have in this community,” said Becker.

This is a wonderful investment that the leaders of this community have made by shifting from the industrial economy to economic development tourism, he added.

Local historians Bill and Brenda Brundage have done a “tremendous amount of work” and have been soliciting support for the restoration project for quite some time, says Becker.

The blockhouse is currently in disrepair as the roof has collapsed and a portion of the second floor has fallen in.

“The first rule is to conserve as much as possible,” said Becker of the restoration. “We hope this block house will be around for another 100 years.

Once restored the blockhouse is to be officially opened in conjunction with other planned events for the bicentennial commemoration of the War of 1812 in the municipality next year.

“This particular building was designated heritage in 1955,’ said Mayor Wayne Hurst. “It is one thing to designate it, it is another to maintain it and keep its structure up.”


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