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Uplands enjoyed a rich history long before it became the cultural centre it is today. John Barney Paddon was the first to build a home on the then 120-acre site, and moved here with his family in 1862. After Paddon's death, the property passed to one of his daughters, the wife of Canon Archibald Campbell Scarth of Lennoxville's St. George's Church. After Scarth passed on, the property was sold to a family friend, Arthur Speid, in 1919.
Speid physically split the house - moving the rear portion, a frame structure with kitchen facilities, bedrooms and servant's quarters, across the road, and replaced it with the present brick structure. A community leader, twice mayor, school board member and avid photographer, he was also active in local theatre. He and his wife, Mary White, raised three daughters: Catharine, Janet and Lorna. Arthur Speid passed away in 1974 and, following the death of his wife in 1979, family members lived in the house until 1987.
The history of Uplands then mingles with that of the Lennoxville-Ascot Historical and Museum Society (LAHMS) - a group that still plays a fundamental part in the Centre's ongoing operations. It was LAHMS that began steps to acquire Uplands in 1985, and the house and the property were purchased from the Speid family in 1987 by LAHMS and the Town of Lennoxville. Countless volunteers poured hundreds of hours of work into its renovation and restoration before it opened in 1988. Uplands' restored barn became an active part of the facility in 1990; at that time, LAHMS had also initiated art exhibitions, workshops and traditional English teas.
In 2000, the Town of Lennoxville bought LAHMS' share of the property, freeing them to better focus on their role as a historical society. A new organization was created, the Uplands Cultural and Heritage Centre, with the mandate to manage the property and the activities held at the house. As part of the agreement, LAHMS was granted use of the second floor of the main building, the attic, and a portion of the barn to store and display their collection. The second floor also houses LAHMS' archives. Since the historic home's transformation into a cultural centre, hundreds of local artists have displayed their works at Uplands and scores of arts and craft workshops have delighted local residents.
Now that Lennoxville has merged with Sherbrooke (as of January 1, 2002), there may be more changes in store for Uplands, as its role as a cultural and heritage centre continues to broaden along with the community it serves.