Friday, September 28, 2012

Glenaladale Estate for Sale

    Here's the MLS listing for the Glenaladale Estate -
Images cf. MLS listing.

Glenaladale Estate - The Way We Were

     This was article was in the Guardian newspaper yesterday.
Mary MacKay,  The Guardian, Sept. 27, 2012
The house is the third that was built on the Glenaladale Estate.
Constructed in 1883/84 it has withstood the test of time and is still a solid structure.

The Prince Edward Island Scottish Settlers Historical Society Inc. is hoping to purchase the Glenaladale Estate in Tracadie to keep this historic property intact as part of P.E.I.’s unique Scottish heritage

With 40 per cent of Prince Edward Island’s population being of Scottish origin, a great many can trace their arrival roots back 240 years ago to Lot 36 in the Tracadie Bay area.
One historic 529-acre piece of allotted land still original to that settlement time is Glenaladale Estate, once the home of army officer and colonizer Capt. John MacDonald who brought with him in 1772 the Scottish ancestors of many Islanders today.
Now that property and its impressive 19th-century house are up for sale and the Prince Edward Island Scottish Settlers Historical Society Inc. (PEISSHS) is putting the wheels in motion for the Save Glenaladale Estate campaign to preserve this piece of Island history.
“It’s a very important part of P.E.I.’s heritage,” says Aggi-Rose Reddin, who is spearheading the campaign with Mary Gallant, a fellow member of the PEISSHS, which has been active since the late 1960s in preserving Scottish culture and heritage on the Island.
In 1772 Capt. MacDonald, who was the laird of Glenaladale and Glenfinnan in Scotland, brought with him a bonny lot of 210 Scottish Roman Catholic settlers to the 20,000-acre parcel of land he’d purchased on what was then known as St. John’s Island.
“They were one of the earliest Scottish groups to come to the Island,” Reddin says.
“Some of them came out as servants for four years. Some came out agreeing to lease the land from Captain John for a number of years. . . ,” Gallant says.
The descendants of the Glenaladale settlers spread far and wide across the province and throughout North America.
“He was one of the landlords who took his mandate and settled the property. A lot of them had the lots but they didn’t bring the people. He brought the people,” Reddin says.
“The person who ended up running this estate was his sister, Nellie (MacDonald). So we have an early feminist story here (as well).”
The Glenaladale land holding is thought to be the last of the intact properties of the early landlords.
“Most of them are chopped up and this one is one. It’s the full 529 acres that he had for his personal estate,” Reddin says.
The stately brick house on the Glenaladale property is the third home that was built on the land.
“The original log cabin was down by the water (Tracadie Bay) and we’d love to see an archeological dig down there someday,” Gallant says.
The house that exists today was built in 1883-1884 by Capt. MacDonald’s grandson Sir William C. MacDonald for his brother John MacDonald.
In 1905 the estate was purchased from the MacDonald family by the McKinnon family, who in the 1930s operated it as a lodge.
It was used as the family home after that.
“When we heard it was for sale we picked up the phone and arranged to come out and see it. We did go through and we were amazed at how structurally sound it was. It’s well built,” Gallant says of the house, which has three bedrooms on the third level that were the servants’ quarters and seven bedrooms on the second floor.
On the main level there are five rooms: the kitchen, pantry, parlor, dining room and sitting room, as well as a large foyer.
The purchase price has yet to be determined but it’s most likely to be a seven-figure sale.
The society is considering contacting the descendants of the Glenaladale settlers for support, as well as corporations for donations or sponsorship.
They also hope to apply for funding through government agencies and private foundations.
Once purchased the house would have to be restored and subsequently used as base for an as yet undetermined enterprise.
One possibility could be an ecological centre, because the design elements that were used in the house were quite environmentally forward for its time.
“There is also the idea of an academic research centre and possibly a partial partnership with a university either here or MacDonald College at McGill (University), which was founded by Sir William Christopher MacDonald (who built the house in 1883/84),” Reddin adds.
“It’s got to be something that is of significant use. We want it to be sustainable and vibrant and it helps it to become a go-to place for whatever purpose it ends up being used for. But it also stands as an active living memorial to recognize the Scottish-ness of Prince Edward Island.”
Although acquiring the property is a major undertaking the PEISSHS recognizes that this is a one-time-only opportunity to preserve this intact piece of the Island’s history before it’s gone for good.
“We’ve got 40 per cent of the population of P.E.I. that identify themselves as having Scottish heritage. We are the most Scottish province in Canada. We tend to take our Scottish heritage for granted,” Reddin says.
“We’ve spoke with representatives from other groups and we said it’s time that we started to do something about that. So we see this has the potential for some sort of a project that celebrates our Scottish-ness on P.E.I. for everybody that has Scottish heritage, not just the Glenaladale (settlers’ ancestors).”

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Save Glenaladale Estate, 1883-1884

Former Cape Tryon Lighthouse, Cousins Shore

     I was up to Cousins Shore recently and took this one photo of the former Cape Tryon Lighthouse - now used as a private summer cottage.
     I found this video and comments.
     This is the former Cape Tryon Lighthouse located on the north shore of Prince Edward Island near Park Corner.
     This, the first Cape Tryon Lighthouse, was put into operation i 1905. The original Cape Tryon Lighthouse was replaced in 1967, and it has been moved twice since then. It Currently serves as a private summer cottage.

     The following history of the Cape Tryon Lighthouse comes from Navigational Aids: Fisheries and Oceans (CCG) Prince Edward Island -
     This Lighthouse was established in 1865.  It is located near the harbour entrance with a latitude N. 46 26 17,9 an a longitude W. 62 44 30.
     Cape Tryon Lighthouse consists of a combined dwelling and light tower.  It is a thirty-five (35') foot wooden white tower.
     In 1912, repairs were made to the chimney of the lighthouse.
     In 1943, the old gallery was to be torn down and a new one was to be erected for the lighthouse.  In that same year, the light was maintained through winter for the R.A.F. Flying Schools.  The last alterations were made in 1976.
     William Bell from French River was the first lighthouse keeper of Cape Tryon.  He operated the light in 1905 until he died in 1915.
     James Adam then became temporary lightkeeper on October 15, 1915.  He resigned from his position on October 7, 1927.
     On October 8, 1927 Frank Pidgeon was temporary keeper.  Then Frank became permanent keeper in 1928.  He retired on July 13, 1936. 
     On July 14, 1936 James Garnet Graham was hired as temporary keeper.  He retired on February 28, 1937.
     When James Graham was relieved of duty, William Brander became keeper on March 1, 1937.  William Brander was then relieved of duty on November 1, 1937 and James Graham was appointed permanent lightkeeper.
    In September of 1942, James went on leave of absence to join the armed forces.  So, they hired Robert Elmer Parsons to act as temporary keeper.
    Arthur Lea Pidgeon was the next keeper.  He started on October 8, 1942 and discontinued his position because of his poor health on October 17, 1945.
     Guy T. Arthur took over as temporary lightkeeper until Pidgeon was able to return to his duties.
     In 1946, John L. Graham kept the light until 1948 when James duties as keeper.  He resigned in 1952 due to his failing health.  Guy T. Arthur was placed as temporary keeper again.
    Arthur Elwood Paynter served as lightkeerp on April 1, 1953 until February 15, 1962 when the light became automated.
     Cape Tryon Lighthouse is a coast light that is used by considerable traffic passing along the north side of Prince Edward Island. 

     I also found the following information
Description: Cape Tryon, located 2.4 km (1.5 miles) northwest of New London Harbour, is a remarkable red sandstone cliff with a height of 33.5 metres (110 feet). From this lofty perch, the Cape Tryon Lighthouse guides mariners along the northern coast of Prince Edward Island between Richmond Bay and New London, warning of the shallow water that extends out a considerable distance from shore.
     The first Cape Tryon Lighthouse was put into operation on the opening of navigation in 1905 and stood on ground 15.2 metres (50 feet) back from the edge of the cliff. B. D. Huntley of Vernon River Bridge was awarded a $1,590 contract to construct the lighthouse, which consisted of a rectangular, wooden dwelling, painted white, with an octagonal, red iron lantern mounted on the north end of its gambrel roof. The lighthouse stood 11.3 metres (37 feet) tall from its base to the ventilator on the lantern, and its first beacon was a temporary seventh-order white light, visible for sixteen miles from all points of approach.
     In 1906 the temporary lens was replaced with a fourth-order Fresnel lens manufactured in Paris, France by Barbier, Benard & Turenne. The lens had four lenticular panels and completed one revolution in twenty seconds producing a 0.638-second flash every five seconds. The illuminant was petroleum vapor burned under a mantle. Captain William Bell from French River was the first keeper of the Cape Tryon Lighthouse, serving from 1905 until his passing in 1915.
     The lantern deck was recanvassed and the flashing around the lantern base renewed in 1928. An unused chimney was also taken down at that time, the resulting hole boarded over, and leaks in the roof and plaster in the dwelling were repaired.
James Graham was hired as a temporary keeper in 1936 but resigned in early 1937 only to return as a permanent keeper later that year after William Brander was relieved of duty.      Keeper Graham took a leave of absence in September, 1942 to join the armed forces and returned as keeper in 1948. Arthur Paynter kept the light from 1953 until it was automated in 1962.
     The original Cape Tryon Lighthouse was replaced in 1967 by the present square, pyramidal tower, which stands 12.4 metres (40.7 feet) tall, has a focal plane of 33.4 metres (110 feet), and exhibits a two-second flash every six seconds.
     After the original Cape Tryon Lighthouse was decommissioned, it was moved a short distance to Cape Road, where it sat empty and neglected for a few years. Around 1964, a family from Montreal, Quebec purchased the lighthouse and relocated it a few kilometres to the west to their property in Sea View.
     Ron and Alberta Somers purchased the lighthouse and moved it to its current location in Park Corner, where they lovingly restored the lighthouse to serve as a summer cottage. The Somers just happen to be related to two of the keepers who served at Cape Tryon. Ron's great-uncle is James Graham, and Alberta's great-great-grandfather is Captain William Bell, first keeper of the lighthouse.
     Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables and numerous other works set on Prince Edward Island, was living in Cavendish, on the eastern shore of New London Harbour, when Cape Tryon Lighthouse was established. In 1909, she recorded the following about Cape Tryon and its new lighthouse.
Away to the westward six or seven miles the view was bounded by New London Point [now called Cape Tryon], a long, sharp tongue of land running far out to sea. In my childhood I never wearied of speculating what was on the other side of that point – a very realm of enchantment surely, I thought. Even when I gradually grew into the understanding that beyond it was merely another reach of shore like our own it still held a mystery and fascination for me. I longed to stand out on the remote, lonely, purple point, beyond which was the land of lost sunsets. I have seen few more beautiful sights than a sea-sunset off that point. Of late years a new charm has been added to it – a revolving light which as seen from here, flashes on the point in the dusk of summer nights like a beacon “O’er the foam/Of perilous seas in fairylands forlorn.”
     Montgomery's Anne’s House of Dreams, published in 1909, is set around Four Winds Harbour, in actuality New London Harbour, and features the Four Winds Lighthouse kept by Captain Jim. The following description of the setting of the lighthouse, given in Chapter 9 of the book, leaves little doubt that it was based on Cape Tryon Lighthouse: “The Four Winds light was built on a spur of red sandstone cliff jutting out into the Gulf.”
     Keepers: William Bell (Mar. 17, 1905 – 1915), James Adams (1915 – 1927), Frank Pidgeon (1927 – 1936), James Garnet Graham (1936 – 1942, 1948 – 1952), William Brander (1937), Arthur Lea Pidgeon (1942 – 1945), John L. Graham (1946 – 1948), Arthur Elwood Paynter (1953 – 1962).

  1. Annual Report of the Department of Marine and Fisheries, various years.
  2. Binder on the Lighthouses of Prince Edward Island, Carol Livingstone, 2002.
  3. “A Visit to ‘Four Winds Lighthouse’”, Carolyn Strom Collins, The Shining Scroll, December 2010.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

PEI Architecture Books by H.M. Scott Smith

     I often refer to the excellent publications of H.M. Scott Smith on Prince Edward Island Architecture - they are must have books if you have any interest in knowing all about the built heritage of our Island.
     Below are scans of his book - they are available at local bookstores as well as on

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

MacArthur House, Birch Hill

     My brother Kerras was out to this house the other day and took the following photographs.  The house will soon be demolished - it sits on a newer foundation but there's not much left that's salvageable.
     The house was the former Gerald and Lucy (Wagner) MacArthur House.   The following is from page 52-43 of The History of Birch Hill.
     "Gerald MacArthur and his wife Lucy (Wagner) MacArthur, next farmed the property.  They have two daughters and two sons: Shirley, Marlene, Vernon and Brian.  Due to ill health, Gerald gave up farming in 1952, and lived in Wellington, PEI for a number of years.  Gerald and Lucy are now residing in Tyne Valley.  The old homestead was vacant for a number of years before being purchased by Thomas Gillis, son of Dr. Edwin Gillis, formerly of Grand River.  Dr. Gillis is a brother of Willard Gillis.  Thomas and his wife Kathleen have one daughter, Karen and they reside in West Palm Beach, Florida.  In 1980, they had the kitchen rend of the house removed, and are presently having the main part renovated for use as a summer home."
 Below:  the stairs from the house - the middle is missing!
     Below: are a few pages (50-53) from the book, Climbing the Hill: A History of Birch Hill, Lots 13 and 14, PEI. Compiled by Birch Hill Women's Institute
     The construction date of this house is not known, however, it's early Island architecture - the low slope roof is typical of the early to mid 1800's.  Often when a property transfers from one generation to another the family home is either renovated or replaced.  This property transferred to a new generation between 1855 and 1861 - one might assume this house was built around that time.

1888 Alma Train (Flag) Station

     I just posted this item on my community history blog

     On April 24, 2001 my father, Wilbert and brother, Kerras and I went to measure and photograph the old Alma Flag Station located at H.I. Construction on the Western Road in Alma.  The purpose of our visit was to see the old station as it was to be torn down as a result of damage to one corner of the building following a major fire at the construction site on March 6, 2001.  Kerras was able to salvage some boards and a few things which he used to make a few benches for souvenirs.  The station was demolished on May 1, 2001.

     Below are drawings I prepared from our visit - Dad helped us to identify the two areas and what was found in them.
     Alma Station, was originally called Montrose Station which was built around 1875.  In 1884 the schedule notes the departures time to be 7:42am.  The original building would have been very small, more like a shed building.  The Train "Flag" Station was probably built in 1888 when 51 new stations were built on Prince Edward Island to better serve the public.
     Summerside Journal 27-Dec-1877.  Mr. George Hardy, driver of the No. 1 train was much scalded at Montrose in his engine by the displacement of a plug allowing the steam to escape.  His fireman Thomas Trainor was also badly scalded.  Both are at Alberton in good hands though suffering much".  quote from the Patriot.

      Below are three photos I took that day.  The first photo shows the two original doors.
 Below:  the north side of the station.
      Below:  Inside, note the sliding door on the back wall, this was the in the freight shed facing west.
     The old station was used by the railroad up till the mid 1960's.  Dad often took the train to O'Leary to visit his in-laws in Knutsford, mostly in winter, as late as the winter of 1963-64.  The station was sold to Archie Dunbar who then sold it to Hayes Paying where it was used for a storage building until it was partially burned on March 6th, 2001 - see 

     For more information regarding this station and the A Photo History of Prince Edward Island Railway by Allan Graham.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Spruce Lodge 1902

     I took photos of this from a Summering in Rustico display at the Farmers Bank of Rustico Museum in 2009 - pages from the art log book of well-known Island artist Robert Harris.

1838 St. Augustine Roman Catholic Church, Rustico

     Last evening we surely enjoyed a lecture inside St. Augustine Church in Rustico by Prince Edward Island Architecture and Art Historian, Reg Porter.  It was a pleasure to listen to Reg and see his Power Point Presentation and be in the church to look around and see the details he was referring to.
     Here's a brochure available inside the Church.
     Below are a few photos I have taken over the years of the church and other misc. images of interest.
 Below: After an ice storm - the Barachois Inn sits to the left of the church.
Below Photo:s from on an early spring day.
 Below:  the Parochial House - built around 1850.
 Below:  Image of St. Augustine church from Meecham's 1880 Atlas.
 Below: displays from the Farmers Bank Museum.
 Below:  Convent at Rustico adjacent to St. Augustine Church - burned in early 1930's.
 The Present Convent built in 1932.  Today used as a place of retreat, called Belcourt Centre.
 Below: old photo taken in the backyard of the present day Barachois Inn.
 Below:  Earliest known photos of the church.  cf. Farmers Bank Museum.
 Below: My sketch of this historic area of Rustico.
Below: St. Augustine Church and the Farmers Bank Museum.
 Below: Pioneer Cemetery with St. Augustine in the background.