‘Actually happening to us’: Smiths Falls couple presents fascinating heritage home discoveries

Photo by Gordon Wolford via Keyhole House Facebook page

Smith Falls illusionists Ted and Marion Outerbridge have been digging deep into the lineage of their heritage home since they first purchased it in 2018. On Feb. 19, the couple will be presenting an in-depth talk at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum to enlighten the community about all their exciting findings on the Keyhole House thus far. 

The Outerbridges are deemed “Masters of Illusion” and have been touring their stage show “Outerbridge – Mysteries of Keyhole House” throughout the Ottawa Valley and will soon expand to the rest of Ontario. Now, the pair is taking a new approach in the form of a historical lecture titled “Mysteries of Keyhole House – Unlocked.” This talk will feature over 200 slides of facts, photographs and artifacts, taking participants on a journey through the fascinating history and previous inhabitants of the once-dilapidated home. 

“We are using our show business background to help make people care about history, so the stories that we’re sharing are designed to engage people,” Ted Outerbridge told Lanarkist. “We’re trying to step away from a dry, boring historical talk and make it engaging and exciting.”

During the onset of COVID-19, Ted and Marion found themselves with more free time on their hands, which prompted them to channel their energy into restoring their house. “I started to restore the house and while I was working on it, I found incredible artifacts like a note from the carpenters who built the house in 1892,” explained Ted. 

This small note acted as a catalyst for what would become years of discoveries, exploration and research. “I found eight keys behind the fireplace mantle and when I took them I realized they actually unlocked doors inside the house. This is not a TV show, this is actually happening to us,” said Outerbridge. 

Outerbridge explained he has been using any resources at his disposal to make sense of these various findings including social media, books, the Heritage House Museum, the Smith Falls Museum and the Lanark County Genealogical Museum among others. 

Outerbridge also shared with Lanarkist that he is now working on a Keyhole House website, in addition to writing a book. The goal of both these endeavours is to continue celebrating the history of the building he now calls home. He has also been sharing his journey with the Keyhole House on various social media platforms.

“The Keyhole House has had over 30 million views on social media. There are TikTok videos that have over 5 million views,” Outerbridge proudly shared. 

Although Ted and Marion moved to Smith Falls only five years ago, immersing themselves in the broad history of their home has made them feel connected with the community.

“It’s exciting to celebrate what we have in front of us and to share it with people. We keep discovering things we have in common with Carleton Place,” Outerbridge said. 

Outerbridge noted that the signature beer from 4 Degrees Brewing, aptly named the KeyHole House Lager after the historic relic, will be available for purchase at the event. The presentation will be followed by a Q&A where Ted and Marion hope attendees will share their own stories and memories about the house.

The lecture is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 17, from 2 to 4 pm at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Museum and 267 Edmund Street. Admission is $15 for the general public and $10 for Museum members. To reserve your ticket, guests are asked to send an e-transfer to cpmuseum@outlook.com with your name and email address in the message.

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