Saturday, October 3, 2009

SoHo - South of Horton - Part 1

It's known as SoHo: South of Horton. In the giant scheme of things it was, until recently, a forgotten part of London Ontario. Why an area as attractive and as centrally located as Soho should have fallen from favour is a long and complex story.

Many Londoners would argue about the beauty of SoHo. I spent a recent afternoon taking pictures in SoHo. One resident told me he didn't think it was a beautiful part of town. "No good lookin' homes in this neighbourhood," he said. His girlfriend nodded in agreement.

Until my daughter and her husband rented a home in the central part of SoHo, I would have agreed with that young girl's assessment. Seeing my daughter's rental apartment changed my mind. Although her building dates from about 1880, it retains a lot of the original elegance from that period. My daughter understands the building has a strong connection to Labatt's as the original residents worked at the nearby brewery.

I decided to check out the SoHo neighbourhood. I started on Adelaide St. which is the far eastern end of the area. I moved west shooting the homes bordering the Thames River in the southern part of the area. The western end of the neighbourhood is defined by the river bending north towards the forks.

The west end of SoHo is a sad sight, or should I say site. Many of the remaining homes are historic, going back to 1880 or earlier, but for the most part their importance to the fabric of the city is not appreciated.

A home that breaks the pattern is the one shown which was owned by John Sheehy, an engineer with the Grand Trunk Railroad in 1888. The northern boundary of SoHo is actually not Horton Street but the railroad tracks so familiar to Sheehy. The engineer did not have far to walk to get to work.

The exterior of the home is missing some of the fancy wood detailing popular when the home was built but it has aged remarkably well. The original front door still has the bell. Such bells were once common but are rare today. The present owners, a young couple, are quite enamoured with their home and neighbourhood. It shows.

No comments:

Post a Comment