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Craftsman – 30 Days of Photos Day 7

I’ve written about him before, so when I saw that today’s theme was “Craftsman”, I could do nothing but revisit my Great Grandfather’s handiwork which still stand a few blocks from where I live. I was always told that he was a Millwright, and after fleeing the Russian Revolution of 1905, settled the family in Montreal and built this distinctive block of homes after trading a pair of socks for a small parcel of land. They’re recognizable by their balconies and all but one balcony has survived the ages (the 3rd one down is now an awful mix of press-wood and aluminium). The homes were long sold off for pennies and are now 2 story cottages worth about a billion dollars apiece.

crafted balconies montreal

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  • That’s amazing, Mike. I love that old style craftsmanship. Imagine buying a parcel of land for a pair of socks. Did he wash them first?

  • Paula Wooters

    Wow! I’d give two pair of socks for that property now… no questions asked! Your great-grandaddy was definitely a crafty craftsman.

  • Wow! What a great story and wonderful photo.

  • Wow, I am very impressed! Also, once again, very worried about this troublesome Russian side to you. I really should not fraternise with you.

  • I am in AWE. total and complete AWE.

  • Wow! Lovely work. You really captured the craftsmanship with your shot.

    Those must have been some pair of socks.

  • Marvelous craftsmanship! They really did the whole thing in those days, and what we get now is a poor replica! What a lovely thing to pass your grandfather’s work and know it was his doing!

  • ladyV

    sweet. i love this perspective too, it’s like they go on forever.

  • Pat Kumicich

    The generations before us accomplished so much with so little. We could learn a lot from them if we took the time. Thank you for sharing your great grandfather’s legacy.

  • That is some gorgeous architecture. It looks like a place where I’d like to walk down the street and ooh and aah over the buildings.

  • Your great grandfather… HOW INCREDIBLE! Just beautiful.. what an amazing thing to have near you!

  • That is so beautiful. I did a search on some of Montreal’s neighborhoods and was wowed by the beauty of your city. That is amazing that those balconies have stood the test of time and remain in their spectacular condition. Your great grandfather was an skilled craftsman for sure.

    Love that picture!!!

  • MikeWJ

    That’s incredibly beautiful and unique work, and I’m glad it’s survived the ages. One question, though: How do you manage to trade a pair of socks for land? Was somebody that desperate for socks?

  • I love his craftsmanship! My great grandpa built our family farmhouse and I know the feeling of touching the wood he once crafted. You must be very proud. I’m fairly certain the craftsmanship of the socks must have been pretty remarkable themselves. It is awful cold up there so I can see some one being desperate enough.

  • Mike, these are awesome! Indigo

  • Thanks, Indigo!

  • Yep, you do need warm socks. I’m proud, but it’s the kind of thing I can only admire from afar. Unless I buy the block. Hmmm….got 5 zillion dollars to lend me?

  • I’m actually not sure. It was different time and bartering went a long way.

  • There are some amazing streets here. A lot of the houses actually look much better on the outside than inside.

    Love the graphic. Bootlegging was a big part of Canada’s history too 🙂

  • It’s great, and it gets me through 1 more day of this challenge 🙂

  • There’s no shortage of cool stuff to look at, but we have our fair share of aluminium siding and hideous pink brick too.

  • You’re welcome. Their handiwork lasts much longer than the crap they build today.

  • I’m not even sure how many there are. I should go count them.

  • I know, and there were thousands of guys like him doing the same kind of work. Those materials cost a fortune today.

  • I’m sure they were at least warm.

  • 🙂

  • It’s cool, my ancestors were the ones fleeing, so I think that means we can still be friends.

  • Thanks, Cheryl!

  • Probably not. I always imagine that nothing got washed in those days.

  • 2 pairs? That’s like, double the price!

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