LAKE PAUL - A historic home doubling as a familiar landmark in the Lake Paul and Lake George area is now beyond recognition.
Flames fanned through a house commonly known as the Church estate Nov. 21, leaving only the unique stonework from the ground level bearing some resemblance to the unique features that made the home stand out.
Aylesford Fire Chief Shawn Carey estimates that between 60 to 70 firefighters assisted with the call until the scene was cleared at 7:44 p.m.
“It was a large home,” he said, adding that the time of day, slippery road conditions, age of the structure and location resulted in challenging conditions.
The two occupants of the home were away when the fire broke out in the basement, Carey said. No one was injured, but the fire chief confirmed that one of two dogs had yet to be found as of the morning after the fire.
“We’ve got a dog that’s unaccounted for at this time,” said Carey in an interview Nov. 22.
“There was one dog already tied out.”
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
The three-storey house was featured in a book co-authored by Aylesford residents John DeCoste and Twila Robar-DeCoste in the 1980s.
The book, entitled A History of Aylesford and District, says Lake George native Eugenia Church (nee Mosher) married and returned to her hometown to establish a country estate in the early 1900s after enjoying a successful career as a stage actress in New York.
“Around 1903, the Churches moved and reconstructed the old Mosher house, Eugenia's childhood home. The older section was raised to become the second and third floors, with a new first floor built underneath. The new ground floor was faced with stones, many brought specially from the Bay of Fundy, and some local granite. A beautiful double-pillared portico was built over the front entrance, and covered a small portion of the sweeping curved driveway,” the book states.
“The Churches eventually acquired more land and built a large barn, a tenement house, and a two-storey building for use as a community hall.”
DeCoste, a former reporter with Kings County News, was sorry to hear this one-of-a-kind home along the 4,000 block of Aylesford Road was deemed a total loss after the fire.
“The home was locally known as 'the Church estate' or 'the Church house,' and was a well-known local landmark dating back to the 1860s… a local landmark that is now sadly gone,” he said.