A 200 year old home that was built by United Empire Loyalist Michael Carman II after his service in the war of 1812 and as part of the creation of the initial St. Lawrence shipping routes. Courtesy Photo

IROQUOIS – History has always been an important part of what Iroquois residents care about.

The history of the St. Lawrence River, and how ships delivering goods up and down the St. Lawrence affected the establishment of villages along its shores is all around.

Forward House in Iroquois is just one example of a piece of that history still present today.

Keeping the historical home from disappearing forever has been the job of the Historical Society of South Dundas.

The organization has recently applied for a grant offered by The National Trust for Canada. It is called the – Next Great Save- it is sponsored by the Ecclesiastical Insurance Co.

The program is designed to help a community save a heritage place that matters to them.

Ten heritage places have been accepted into the program.

Residents are encouraged to vote for their favourite heritage place entry. The winner will be the place with the most votes and the winner will receive $50,000 to rehabilitate their heritage place.

The voting began on Jan. 20 and runs until Feb. 22.

The Historical Society of South Dundas is a charitable non-profit organization, which “believes that connecting with the past expands knowledge, raises awareness, and builds a sense of community.”

Forward House is a 200-year-old stone building, which is one of three oldest buildings that survived the construction of The St Lawrence Seaway in 1955-1958.

The Historical Society wants to make Forward House a tourist information stop and gathering place for community groups to meet and share local knowledge and history.

The first floor of Forward House will be the location for offices for the historical society. The second floor will also be utilized by the historical society for storing items donated and artifacts that have accumulated through the years.

People can vote once a day, every day by going to https://nationaltrustcanada.ca/what-you-can-do/nextgreatsave/competition2022/forward-house

The following history of Forward House is courtesy of the Historical Society of South Dundas:

“The Forward House was built by Loyalist Michael Carman III, c1815-1820. The British government hired him to cut and provide timber to build a fort at Iroquois Point. He cleared the trees, was paid in full but the fort was never built because, when the British forces successfully won the war of 1812, the deal was cancelled. The timber harvested by Carman from that point was likely used in the construction of the Forward House for a wedding gift for her daughter who married John Nelson Forward.

From 1928 and on, it was sold to James Sparling Everett until the 1950s. The Everett Farm was expropriated during the construction of the Seaway by the Hydro-electric Power Commission of Ontario and the land was used for the location of the new Village of Iroquois and the Power Commission stipulated that the land be kept as a public space. The Everett House was renamed Forward House and was not lived in after the Seaway. Eventually it was used as the Lawn Bowling Club House for many years until 2017, which the Municipality of South Dundas announced plans to demolish it.

Concerned citizens mobilized quickly to stop the demolition and over 800 people signed a petition to save the house. Because of this response, South Dundas revered their decision. And the house still stands today.”