the forward house

Goal:

During the St. Lawrence Seaway Project of the 1950’s, the entire village of Iroquois was relocated to make way for the wider and deeper waterway. Our goal is to preserve the history of pre-Seaway Iroquois in restoring the Forward House, one of only three remaining buildings from that time, providing a venue for parents and their children to reconnect with their heritage.

 

The Project:

Forward House was constructed somewhere between 1815 and 1820 by Michael Carman.  It was built for his daughter,  Edyth, who married  A E. Forward,  an engineer appointed to work on the canal system that the Government of the day was building to link the Ottawa River and Lake Superior. 

During the war of 1812 as the American armies threatened the small town of Iroquois, the British Navy contacted Michael Carman and promised him two chests of silver to build a fort at Point Iroquois. This occurred just after the American raid of Touisant’s  Island in September, 1812.  Michael Carman did receive the two chests of silver, and  cleared the trees,  but the Fort never materialized. When the British won the War of 1812 quickly, the Navy decided that the fort was no longer necessary for the defense of its territories.  Mr. Carman then used the timber harvested from Point Iroquois  in the construction of  Forward House and Carman House.

These two houses along with Elizabeth Manor (which is privately owned) are the only three stone houses  in Iroquois that predate the building of the St. Lawrence Seaway in the 1950s and the subsequent loss of much of the village of Old Iroquois.  

The Friends of Forward House group want to see this grand old building flourish and bring new meaning to future generations. Once restoration is complete, the interior could contain meeting rooms, and an area to display memorabilia from the early 1900s. It would pay tribute to Old Iroquois, what was lost, what was moved and how the citizens affected felt about the Seaway invasion.

Many of the citizens who lived this experience  are at an age where we need to preserve what they remember or it will be lost.  Once restored,  grandparents and parents could bring their children and share with them the rich cultural history that exists within the boundaries of Iroquois – an opportunity to share with others  what older generations lived through and how they contributed to our great country of Canada.

Annually many tourists visit the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas and Glengarry, Iroquois.  Carman and Forward House could be western  end of a historical trek that begins in Cornwall moves westward through the Lost Villages, Long Sault Parkway, Upper Canada Village, and Morrisburg. They would end their journey visiting  the locks and and taking in the historical perspective provided by  Carman House and Forward House.

 

Estimated Cost: 

The Friends of Forward House are looking for an award of $1,000 to cover the costs of photo and document  reproduction,   postage and general small amounts while we research the viability of having Forward House designated a historical site and move forward with securing grants for the renovation of Forward House. 

Completion Date:

The hope would be for the committee to be well established and moving ahead with the restoration by June 2019.

Benefit to South Dundas Residents:

The benefit to South Dundas residents would be invaluable. It would provide a gathering place where families could teach their children about their forefathers. It would provide a location to house and demonstrate what culture was lost when the coming of the Seaway made our churches, cemeteries and schools and family homes  buried under the flow of water. As the Iroquois Waterfront Plan comes to fruition, Forward House would provide the Eastern Gateway to our beautiful scenic waterfront. 

Once the whole package is marketed, it will provide tourist dollars for our local businesses as well a sense of pride in our heritage. South Stormont has shown what a boost this can be with their creation of the Lost Villages. Old Iroquois was lost as well. We need to help people reconnect with it.