A heritage home that was moved to a new location to make way for construction of an apartment building is for sale.
The home, known as Crystal Cottage and built around 1876, stood on Chatham Street for more than 140 years.
But in 2020 the developer of a 200-unit apartment agreed to sell the historic home for $10 to the Brant Museum and Archives and pay an estimated $300,000 to move it several blocks to vacant property at Charlotte and Wellington streets, owned by the museum.
The City of Brantford paid $100,000 to prepare the land and for a foundation at the new site and the 19th-century cottage was put in place in late 2021.
Tim Philp, president of the Brant Historical Society, said the board has decided to try and sell the home.
“We never really intended to keep it,” said Philp, adding the vacant lot beside the museum was the only one “relatively close to the original location.”
While he said it’s important the building has been saved, the museum doesn’t have a need for it.
Philp said an estimated $500,000 has been spent relocating the house, adding a base, installing a new furnace, and completing other work.
“We spent a lot,” said Philp, adding that the pandemic increased the cost of supplies and made it difficult to find tradespeople. “We’ve stretched our resources to the limit.”
The cottage isn’t listed with a real estate agent but Philp said they are accepting offers. He wouldn’t say how much they are hoping to get.
Philp said proceeds from the house sale would bring a much-needed infusion of cash to the museum.
Crystal Cottage is also known as the Beer Bottle Cottage because of the bottles embedded in the red and yellow brickwork. The bottles, with just the bottoms exposed, run in a single horizontal row about three feet below the eaves all around the house.
Beneath the gable, a collection of shells spell out the words Crystal Cottage, apt because of its glittering embellishments.
Nathan Etherington, program and community coordinator for the Brant Museum, said he isn’t aware of any such houses built elsewhere in the province. He said most glass bottle buildings were constructed after the 1970s and are entirely built of glass.
Etherington said the cottage was renovated before the property was given a heritage designation in 1985 “to ensure it was in a good state for years to come.”
Philp said the heritage designation applies only to the exterior of the building and the interior could be renovated.
City Coun. Dan McCreary, who proposed the city provide funding for the home’s new foundation, said whatever its new use, the building will be protected by its heritage designation.
With its proximity to court buildings, Philp said it is well suited for a lawyer’s office or another type of professional service.
“We want the building to survive for another 100 years,” he said.
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