Covey Hill is located in the foothills of the Adirondacks; looking over the Chateauguay Valley at an altitude of 342 metres. The name of the hill refers to an American settler, Mr. Samuel Covey, one of the first colons.
Here, along the 1st Concession Road, Road 202 and Covey Hill Road, hamlets sprung up regularly. Some of these communities, such as Herdman, Rockburn, Bridgetown and Franklin are home to true architectural treasures. Indeed, a new home for many Irish, Scottish and American immigrants, the region took on a distinct architectural heritage.
The landscapes of the Covey hill are indicative of the very rocky soil, encouraging the use of stone as a building material.
By the middle of the XIXth century, local farmers had established superb flourishing orchards. The stones removed from the land were piled to form walls which framed the fields.
The stone served as well as a construction material for public buildings, homes and farm buildings. Among the farm structures and houses are stone milk houses constructed above a natural water source in order to feed a system of channels which served to cool the milk.
In the Rockburn and Franklin areas, you’ll see small buildings called “ash houses”. Built of stone, they are associated with the production of potash and were used to store the ash from the woodstoves during the winter. The potash, obtained by washing wood ash, was used to manufacture detergent and soap. At the time, England, alone, produced close to half of all cotton fabric sold in the world, and required large quantities of potash to wash and bleach the fibre. For the colonists, it was a lucrative business: between 1810 and 1825, a barrel of potash, which represented the work of two men over a one-month period, sold for between $35 and $60.
Dozens of churches and cemeteries, built by the Protestant Scottish and Irish colonists, dot the countryside, enriching the cultural landscape by their location and architectural style. The region counts 25 protestant churches. Among the most remarkable is St. Paul’s Anglican Church (1848), located in Herdman. Quite humble outside, its interior is a work of art. The St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church (1904) of Huntingdon is unique in its picturesque, romantic style. Built of stone, it is extremely bright inside due to magnificent stained-glass windows bearing geometric motifs and liturgical scenes.
Surrounded by stone walls, family cemeteries associated with Protestantism, create real spiritual gardens along Route 202 and 1st Concession Road in the communities of Hinchinbrooke, Franklin and Havelock. The Scottish cemeteries in Dundee are surrounded by immense pine trees reminders of the conifers in the Scottish colonists’ land of birth.
Covey Hill, Road 2, oil, painting by Mary Dorland. Web Site : www.marydorland.com