Tuesday, January 7, 2014

McNichol-Best House, Cardigan

     The previous post of the Dundas farm may have a connection with the Best family (of Banting & Best, inventors of insulin).  Here's another connection the Best family has to Prince Edward Island - it's a house and property purchased by Dr. Best in Cardigan in 1973.
     The McNichol House of Cardigan is featured in H.M. Scott Smith's book The Historic Houses of Prince Edward Island on page 128.  ( sorry for the fuzzy photo - my scanner is not working - I took a photo ).  I will note a few excerpts from the book below to explain this house.
     The house is situated on the Cardigan River...It's a large rambling, multi-gabled house built partially of Island sandstone with multi-paned windows and a slate roof...It was built in c.1920 as a summer residence for James McNichol, a United States Senator from Philadelphia, and his wife, the former Margaret Donahue of Cardigan.  Senator McNichol died just prior to its completino.  In 1973 it was sold to the renowned Dr. Charles H. Best, co-discoverer of insulin.  Dr. Best died in 1978, but his daughter-in-law lived here after 1983.
     Below are drawings from the Prince Edward Island Public Archives and Record Office website.  http://www.gov.pe.ca/photos/original/P0002287.jpg


  1. Re the McNichol house in Cardigan. I believe that when restoration of the home began in '74 or '75, they found much of the original furniture had been stored in the attic. It had been shipped from Philadelphia in the 20's but was never used and was found still in the original packing crates wrapped in 1920's Philadelphia newspapers.

  2. A truly stunning estate!

  3. Refer to book in Robertson Library, UPEI
    Highlights of Cardigan area:edited by Beth Brehaut.
    S.l s.n. 1987
    [p.80,81] Road's End Mansion
    The house now owned by Eileen Best in Cardigan, was the summer home of Mrs. James P. McNichol (nee Margaret Donahoe of Roseneath). It was called Road's End and was built on the site of the Hugh (Lord) MacDonald home in 1919. The house was constructed of Island sandstone taken from a quarry on the north bank of the Cardigan River. The roof was slate and there was a brick terrace on the east and north sides. The architect was Mr. Hunter of Charlottetown. Pat, Adrian, and Urban Bradley of St. Theresa's were the builders.
    NOTE: The home was purchased by Charles Alexander "Sandy" Best, son of Dr. Charles Best (co-discoverer of insulin) and his second wife, Laurie MacTavish. After their marriage ended, and his death, the property became the home of his first wife, Eileen (Thompson) Best and their four children.

  4. The mansion was owned by both Dr. Sandy and Charles Best, both multi-millionaires. The estate is truly a beautiful and has the oldest known Linden trees on the island. Many weddings have been photographed on the grounds. The Canty's from the USA turned it into a beautiful 5 star inn and now own the estate privately and have maintained it since its purchase from Eileen Best.

  5. This mansion is very rare and unique on PEI. It is a designated heritage property. It was owned by Dr. Charles H. Best, the founder of insulin for diabetes. It is private and gated and is on 27 acres with a large amount of saltwater frontage with ocean access. We live in town and love these rare and truly unique island properties. This property and Fanningbank are my 2 favorites on the island!

  6. This is such a beautiful mansion with the island sandstone and with the very old and stately linden trees overlooking the saltwater river. It is quite a unique property on Prince Edward Island!