The Farmers' Bank of Rustico
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Restoration

 

Doucet House

The Move

The Friends of the Farmers' Bank moved the house to a property adjacent to the Farmers' Bank Museum, where it would be safe until it was time to begin the restoration work. Prior to the move, the Doucet House was in very poor condition from being exposed to the elements.

Due to rotting, the first attempt at moving the house failed and the house almost completely caved in. Concerned that the house may not survive at all, Parks Canada was asked if they could send somebody to the house to properly document and date it, in case it was permanently lost. A restoration architect from Louisburg, Suzanne Meyers, was chosen and sent to assess the house in October, 1999. The more work Meyers did, the more excited she became. She discovered that the house was very old, indeed. It shared a log construction style with Louisburg, "piéce aux piéce", which was distinctively French and very early.

Suzanne knew of an engineer at Louisburg who had designed a system for making the building stable enough for a move. The house was then surveyed, and reinforcement guidelines were developed for it. This consisted of a lattice of beams and cables inside and outside the house, making it possible to move the house by truck.

Unfortunately that October had seen a lot of rain. The move could not take place until late December, when the ground was frozen enough to accommodate the weight of the house and the truck.

Funding for the moving was provided by the Department of Canadian Heritage and the PEI Provincial Government. In addition, Rustico residents, Ronnie Doucette and George Gallant, offered to collect portions of the sandstone foundations and wooden floorboards from the house's original location; HRDC workers moved debris; and local MLA, Beth MacKenzie provided much encouragement and support. The land that the house would rest on near the Farmers' Bank was given to the group by the nearby St. Augustine's Church.

The move was initiated on December 23, 1999, on Grand Père Point, and successfully ended at the Farmers' Bank site - almost 5 kilometers away - later that day. Restoration, though, wouldn't begin until January 2003.

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Doucet House with strapping to reinforce the walls.

View of the supports around the house to keep it from collapsing during its move. 2003. Carter Jeffery Collection.

Doucet House on the truck.

The house on its way from Cymbria to the Farmers' Bank Museum. 1999. Farmers' Bank Collection.

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