Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Naismith House

Saturday was Ontario's Doors Open Day. While it is theoretically a province-wide event, I have only been aware of it since we moved here to Eastern Ontario. It's pretty well what it sounds like; historically interesting places are encouraged open their doors to the public. Today, we enjoyed and appreciated being admitted to a number of private residences.

We spent several very enjoyable hours in and near Almonte (pronounced Almont, with a silent e). While we were able to pass through several fascinating open doors, the one which I will describe here is of almost universal interest because it is the childhood home of the Canadian man who invented the game of basketball. However, I don't know if we are fortunate or unfortunate that he devised the game while living in the USA. While we lose the main bragging rights, basketball would likely have fizzled had it truly been brainwaved in little, old Almonte, and then there would have been nothing to brag about at all.

The James Naismith House

This (above) is the historical plaque that we found at the front of the property which you will see in the following photo. Apparently Naismith was born in this house (see below), but his parents sold it to his uncle and moved elsewhere. However, they died of typhoid shortly thereafter, so James and his two siblings moved back under the care of their uncle. Naismith continued to live here until he left for University of McGill at the age of twenty-three.

This view of the house and front yard is what we see now, 153 years after it was built, but it's authentic. Even the verandah, which had been lost to the ravages of time, was recently and faithfully restored from old photographs. While there has been an addition out back, from the front the house now looks almost exactly like it did all those years ago.

The James Naismith House

Autumn is moving in on us very quickly now. This last photo is a view from the back of the house. The hay has been mowed and the trees beyond are turning colour.

The James Naismith House

(The sketchy outline of the rest of the story is on the plaque shown in the first photo, but, in brief, Naismith moved to Massachusetts after graduating, and it was there that he developed a game which could be played indoors in winter with very little equipment.)


Amanda said...

Thanks for sharing an interesting piece of history ~ i didn't know that basketball was invented by a Canadian!
I love the pictures ~ the house is very pretty. Autumn is just around the cornor now, isn't it?!

Dale said...

Another brilliant Canadian invention. Who knew? Thanks, AC!

Kila said...

Well, I learned something new today. My boys just had a basketball class this afternoon.

The leaves are starting to turn colors here now.

megz_mum said...

Isn't that interesting! Lovely photos as well

Ruth said...

I love that porch. What a great autumn picture with the round hay bales and bush. We had a well organized Open Doors day last weekend in this region. It looked very interesting as well.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

I knew about Dr Naismith and the invention of basketball at Springfield College. I never knew exactly where he was from in Canada. What a lovely home with a wrap around verandah.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...


I love the Ontario Roadside signs. They are not only classy looking but they are full of history. Here is the site where you can spend hours reading them.

Ginnie said...

I love the Naismith house. I could imagine sitting on the veranda in the cool of an evening. As usual, your photos are outstanding.

Lorna said...

I know this house from when I worked at Parks Canada---you get to see a lot of beauties.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE the idea of a Doors Open Day. And I would love to be able to meander through historical homes. This one is a beaut. I wonder if there is such a day in Manitoba. Haven't heard of it, if there is.

womaninawindow said...

I've always wanted to go through homes on Open Day. Would play to my voyeur sensibilities but I'm afraid I'd be so excited I'd pee my pants. If you're ever out and about and see a 30something standing in a puddle of pee excited over someone's furnishings...probably me.

Pearl said...

pretty scenes.

is there a basketball court there?

and is there any sign of the mountain Almonte is named for?