Erchless and Its Inhabitants
Many changes were made both in the residence and the grounds during the ‘eighties. The hill beside the house was laid out in a series of terraces like great steps. It was wonderful for children to roll down, if a spring in the third step was avoided, but it was very difficult to mow. The mowing was done by two men, one pushing the mower and the other walking in front with a rope around his waist to guide it.
The path leading down the hill ended at a boathouse set upon piles in the river where a sailboat and dinghy were moored to interior slips. In the scintillating green light of this fascinating place turtles, both large and small, swam in and out of the piles. Allan was a great sailor and every year when the R.C.Y.C races came to Oakville, “Erchless” was the focal point for the entertainment of the sailors before the Oakville Club came into being.
A tennis court was laid out on the bottom land and a windmill erected in order to pump water from the river into a storage tank standing on the foundation of the house that had been moved across the street.
The foundation of the house was originally used to support the water tower across Navy Street from the house's current location. This water tower held water that was pumped from the little building which housed the pumping machinery. The foundation and the building were used for various purposes before finally rotting away, leaving the foundation available for other uses, such as the foundation for the family's home.Thereafter, the foundation was given a cement bottom and is now the lily pool lying in the shade of the old oak tree, which had served the town’s surveyors as a point from which to run their lines.
The combination barn and gardener’s cottage was designed and built by R.K’s son Allan, who also laid out the curving gravel driveway which was bordered by large flower beds of cannas, castor oil plants and salvia. Being an enthusiastic woodworker, Allan himself built the railings and great gates which still hang on their stone pillars at the north end of the property. He also erected the green house, which has long since rotted away and been replaced by the modern cottage which stands on the same spot, but the hedge of Japanese quince, placed there at this time, still surrounds the area used as a vegetable garden.