MARYSVILLE — Historical conservationists on Wolfe Island are trying to convince the provincial government to delay the “imminent” demolition of one of the oldest houses on the island.

The two-storey house at 1208 Main St. at the intersection with Centre Street is the first property people pass when arriving on the island.

It is slated to be torn down as part of the rebuilding and expansion of the Wolfe Island ferry terminal.

The Wolfe Island Historical Society is calling for the Ontario government to halt the demolition so they can put forward alternatives.

“I’m trying to find from the government how to prevent the demolition,” Kimberley Thomas, the society’s president, said.

“Once the demolition is postponed, we can sit down and talk about why the community couldn’t take responsibility for the home.”

The house is an American Foursquare design, which was popular between the late 1890s and the late 1930s. It was  considered a reaction to ornate Victorian designs and, as such, was relatively plain in appearance.

The design did, however, incorporate handcrafted woodwork inside, and 1208 Main St. is considered to have improved on the original boxy design and features wood from Douglas Fir trees inside.

“For Wolfe Island, this is quite an exceptional house,” according to the society’s notes on the property.

“It is a beautiful home,” Thomas said.

There has been a community effort to save the house for some time, but it was only on Tuesday night that the historical society voted to get involved and offered to take responsibility for the house.

Thomas said how exactly the property would be used has yet to be worked out.

The house does not have historical designation, and Thomas said that may be needed to prevent the house’s loss.

“That might be the process that has to be taken for demolition to be prevented,” Thomas said. “That is not a quick process.”

According to an MTO spokesperson, demolition of the house is to be complete by the end of September to provide room for the reconstruction of the terminal.

“A heritage impact assessment was completed on the house in August 2019, and while the property was identified as having cultural heritage value of local significance or interest, it did not meet the requirements for designation as a provincial heritage property of provincial significance,” the spokesperson said.

The heritage society was provided with an opportunity to photograph the interior and exterior of the house, and a local retirement residence was allowed to relocate trees and saplings from the property.