Ruins to Residence
The decline of industry in Annandale left behind a wide variety of buildings and structures. Over the years, the majority of these structures were torn down or collapsed with age. The last standing remnant of Annandale’s industrial past was the gristmill turned chocolate factory. Through adaptive reuse of an abandoned structure, the stone foundation and brickwork of this important industrial building remains on the banks of the Saw Kill, on Cedar Hill Road.
The story of the reuse and rebuilding of the abandoned ruins of the Chocolate Factory into a home is told best by the family that rebuilt the structure themselves, by hand: the Oja family. The family describes "the building of their family home on the foundation of the Chocolate Factory ruin in Annandale. This was a family operation involving every child with the dismantling of Sunset Cottage on the Ward Manor property (then called the 'Hidden Village), and the recycling of the cottage's boards, nails, bricks, sinks, and hardware for use in the building of the new house."