W8701a TO REV.CALVIN MCQUESTEN from Eric Arthur
School of Architecture
University of Toronto,
Oct 6 1958
To: 'Whitehern' Hamilton, Ontario
Dear Mr. McQuesten1,
Various dates have been given for "Whitehern" all of them between 1840 and 1852. I, myself, would put the date somewhere between 1845 and 1850.
I first saw the house when I was judging the "Entrance to Hamilton" competition. Your brother, Mr. T. B. McQuesten, was very interested in that project, and it was shortly after the competition that he invited me to "Whitehern".
I immediately fell in love with it. It is not only a perfect example of an urban house of that period; it has something about it that speaks of Hamilton, and of nowhere else.
I have spoken often in lectures of "Whitehern" as an unique example in a perfect state of preservation, of a gentleman's estate of the first half of the 19th century. House and buildings and gardens--all are there. I am so devoted to the house that even the metal sun flowers on the wall mean something to me.
I am sure it is regarded with the same feeling of affection by thousands of people in Hamilton. I can speak best for the architectural profession not only of Hamilton, but much farther afield. We look on it as a gem of which any city might be proud. We are greatly indebted to you, Sir, and your family for keeping it intact and in such condition so long and so well.2
I hope this is the information you require. It gives me the greatest pleasure to send it to you.
(Signed) "Eric Arthur"
1 This letter is very similar to W8697 on the same date in which paragraph five reads slightly differently. At this time Rev. Calvin was attempting to convince his sisters to agree to leave "Whitehern" to the City of Hamilton, and the note on the envelope of W8697 suggests that he had some input into the re-phrasing of the letter. See Box 05-002 for Terms of Transfer of "Whitehern" to the Hamilton Parks Board. For the documents related to Calvin's scheme to convince his sisters, and the Hamilton Parks Board's acquisition of "Whitehern," in chronological order, see:
Box 04-111, 1958/09/29
Box 04-012, 1958/11/06
Box 04-113, 1958/11/07
Box 05-002, 1959/02/01
Box 08-140, 1959/11/03
Box 09-233, 1959/11/04
Box 14-090, 1960/06/18
Box 04-113a, 1971/05/04
2 This paragraph was changed from its "original" wording in W8697a.