Restoring tradition

Brandon Anstey
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Pelley House in Boyd’s Cove recognized for its place in history

BOYD’S COVE — It’s been standing for nearly a decade. Now, its owner is receiving a plaque of recognition for his efforts to restore and maintain the Pelley House.

The Pelley House has been in Gary Thoms’ family for three generations. The structure is a Victorian style home built in 1917 on the shore of Boyd’s Cove.

The registered heritage structure stands on the shore of Boyd’s Cove and is owned by Gary Thoms. It was built in 1917, and now almost 100 years later, it’s a true example of tradition, said George Chalker, executive director of Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador (HFNL).

“It’s a very unique and interesting structure,” said Mr. Chalker. “The fact that the house has been in Mr. Thoms’ family for three generations is also very interesting.”

The HFNL director said Mr. Thoms has put in a solid effort over the years to restore and maintain the house that once belonged to his grandmother, Ms. Pelley.

“He’s done some great work to the exterior of the house, and we are sending him a plaque in recognition of the work he’s done,” said Mr. Chalker.

It was a pleasant surprise for Mr. Thoms.

“I’m pleased,” said Mr. Thoms. “I’m proud of the work I’ve done, and I’m proud that I’m able to preserve part of the heritage of one of the oldest buildings in Boyd’s Cove and the community as well.”

According to Mr. Chalker, buildings have to be uniquely structured or prominent in Newfoundland and Labrador history to be considered a heritage structure. The Pelley House in Boyd’s Cove is an example of just that.

“I got the heritage designation from both regions because it’s a unique merchant home from out on the outport and because my grandmother used it as a boarding home, a lot of people came and boarded there,” said Mr. Thoms. “One of the people being a geology professor from Columbia University who wrote several books, and he mentions the house in the forward of one of his books.”

The prominence of the house is reflected through history.

“Its original owner was a merchant from Boyd’s Cove and then my grandmother and grandfather bought it from that gentleman,” said Mr. Thoms. “Then my grandmother used it for a boarding many years after my grandfather died, and then when she passed away, my wife and I restored the house, somewhat.”

It was an unfortunate situation that led the house out the family’s ownership, but it wasn’t the final goodbye for the Thoms family.

“We sold it due to my wife’s illness, then we bought it back again.”

Mr. Thoms and his family sold the Pelley House to an Ontario man but bought it back again five years ago.

Organizations: Pelley House, Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, Columbia University

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador, Ontario

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