Box 05-002 TERMS OF TRANSFER OF THE WHITEHERN PROPERTY BY THE MCQUESTEN FAMILY TO THE HAMILTON PARKS BOARD
Feb 1 1959 [likely the date that the document was signed]
The members of the McQuesten family to remain as tenants until the demise of the last survivor, unless voluntary withdrawal is made by the same.
The property to be maintained by the Parks Board as a Memorial to our grandfather Dr. Calvin McQuesten, pioneer in this city of the "heavy industries" which have made Hamilton the "Birmingham of Canada," and to our brother, Thomas Baker McQuesten; the place to be known as "Whitehern"--the McQuesten Residence," "but with two tablets placed in prominent positions, stating the contributions of each to the development of the city of Hamilton and the Province of Ontario.
This gift is made on condition that the grounds be maintained as an ornamental garden, and the house kept open to the public as a "period piece" for at least ten (10) years. The stable is to remain standing and kept in proper repair. And the furniture, carpets, rugs, pictures and bric-a-brac in the four rooms and hallway on the ground floor of the original house, the front hall and lounge in the basement, and the three principal bedrooms be arranged to the best possible advantage. But the members of the McQuesten family reserve the right to dispose of any articles in the house, the removal of which may not lessen the value and interest of its contents for the public.
It is assumed that taxes and water rates will be remitted, and the Parks Board will supply garden services when required.
If at any subsequent time the Parks Board should decide that public interest does not warrant the expense of maintenance, the contents of the house shall be sold after our cousins, Mrs. Ernest Steele (137 King Street, Guelph), and Mrs. David Semple and Mrs. Harry Walker (both residing on the River Road, near Niagara-on-the-Lake) have been allowed to select any things they wish for their own or their children's use. And the proceeds of the sale are to revert to the estate.
The property is to continue in the possession of the Parks Board or other authority designated by it, so long as the exterior appearance of the house remains unchanged and the house kept in proper repair, and tablets to Dr. Calvin McQuesteen and T. B. McQuesten are kept in a prominent position.
But if at any time the house itself is not considered worth the cost of maintenance in good repair, or is damaged beyond repair by fire or any other agency, the whole property is to revert to the residual legatees, viz., the Boards of Overseas Missions of the United Church of Canada and the non-concurring Presbyterian Church of Canada, or (in case either or both of these are no longer functioning) to their parent Churches.
At Professor Eric Arthur's1 suggestion, the following has been added:
Any decorating to be done to the house from the time of transfer shall be approved by a Committee consisting of two architects appointed by the Hamilton Chapter of the Ontario Association of Architects, and one architect appointed by the Architectural Conservancy of Ontario. A committee similarly constituted shall approve of all major structural repairs.
1 Professor Arthur had written letters to help Calvin to convince his sisters, Mary and Hilda, to leave Whitehern to the city, and he helped Calvin's campaign to have the Hamilton Parks Board accept the responsibility for maintaining "Whitehern" once the last member of the McQuesten family had passed away. 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