The Antoine Pilon House
258 chemin Bord-du-Lac
Pointe-Claire, Québec, CANADA

« For all practical purposes what was left was a shack, pure and simple »


 

This declaration published in the News & Chronicle of November 24th 1982 indicates quite clearly the interest held by the Director of Planning for the City of Pointe-Claire in regards to this old house built at the beginning of the XVIIIth century. Mr. André Charbonneau, the present owner of the house knew that the Director was not totally wrong.

This house lies on lot 88 of the present survey, forming a part of lot number 154 in the original land registry of the Island of Montreal. Lot 154-D was conceded by the Sulpicians to Pierre Sauvé dit Laplante on November 24th 1698. Then, it was property of 3 acres of frontage and 60 acres deep, on the shore of Lac Saint-Louis.

Pierre Sauvé and his wife Marie-Michel sold this land to Jean du Tartre dit Desrosiers on October 27th 1700. The property had not changed. The next two transactions took place on the same day, September 19th 1706. First, Du Tartre gave a concession to Madeleine LeMoyne, widow of Jean-Baptiste Beauvais, already in possession of the adjoining lot. Dame LeMoyne immediately sold lot 154-D to Antoine Pilon, who had already purchased from her the adjoining lot 155-D.

Marie-Anne Brunet, having inherited the lot upon the passing of her husband Antoine Pilon, gave the land to her son Mathieu on January 22nd 1729. The deed (acte de donation) indicates land of 5 acres of frontage to 20 acres deep, consisting of lots 154-D and 155-D. This is the first document mentioning ┤ a little house ¬ with a barn. Therefore the house was built between 1706 and 1729. Since the Pilons have inhabited the house one can believe that it must have been built shortly after the purchase of the concession, very likely during the summer of 1707.

Gabriel Pilon, son of Mathieu and Marie-Josephte Daoust and occupant of the family home, became the next owner on purchasing from his parents lot 154-D measuring 3 acres by 28 acres. The farmer and inn-keeper Pierre Pilon, son of Gabriel and Suzanne Meloche, inherited the land on December 7th 1799.

The Pilons left the property for good on July 1st 1826 when it was sold to the carpenter W. Glasford. They had handed down the property from father to son for 120 years.

This is the list of successive owners of the house :

  • Félix Amesse, carpenter, husband of Marguerite Pilon (purchased March 1st, 1832)
  • Fran┴ois Larivée, shoe-maker, (purchased April 5th, 1834)
  • Jean-Baptiste Legault dit Deslauriers, son, painter (purchased May 11th, 1865)
  • Damase Alexandre Valois (purchased July 19th, 1873)
  • Isidore Valoix (inherited 1914)
  • Charles-Benoît Valois (purchased December 31st, 1921)
  • Joseph Duhamel (purchased February 21st, 1944)
  • André Charbonneau, 1968
At the time he left the house, which he lived in until 1976, André Charbonneau began a thorough transformation of the house which he planned to restore totally. Simultaneously, he applied to public offices to have his house declared a historic site, but without any success. He was left with three major decisions to be made : completely demolish the house while assigning numbers to each stone and each beam; reconstuct the house according to its original appearance and not that of 1850, and, add an extension in order to increase its size. Only the attic-windows betray the spirit of the early XVIIIth century; these appeared in the middle of the XVIIIth century and not at the beginning.

It is to be noted that for the constuction of the extension Charbonneau visited many demolition depots of the region of Montreal in search of the appropriate pieces of wood that were missing. For the construction of the roof and its 50 degree incline he had to accept to use new wood. The fa┴ade of the house is typically of Norman inspiration.

The interior of the house has kept its original XVIIIth century style. The main floor consists of a single large room like when it was built, which forced Charbonneau to be ingenious to ensure the solidity of the house.

The reconstruction of the house has proven to be quite successful considering the challenges to be met. Its artisans, Robert Lardeux (stone), Pierre Coupal (woodworking and stairs), Marcel Ménage (hardware), are reputed to meet this kind of workmanship, but without the determination of André Charbonneau, this old wooden house would have been replaced by a modern building without soul.

Sources :

  • Charbonneau, André : Summary of the transactions on the land, anonymous.
  • Personal summary of successive owners and verbal information.
  • Montreal Urban Community, Planning, Rural Architecture and Diverse Documents.
  • Matthews, Brian R.; A History of Pointe-Claire.
  • Ministry of Cultural Affairs; Macro-Inventory of Pointe-Claire.
  • Montreal La Presse, Sunday February 23rd 1992, Guy Pinard.
Find about the 1992 "Return to Antoine Pilon's House"
Return to the Main Index Page Select another Pilon Story
en français?