Ancestral Roofs

"In Praise of Older Buildings"

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Everything stops for tea

to Helen Hutchison for her vision, determination and plain hard work

heritage flower garden

south (front) entrance facing the river
 Thanks all round.
Friend Brenda and I repaired to Napanee today, for tea and a tour of the exquisite museum house, Allan MacPherson house (1826).

Once a ruin, the house was rescued by the Lennox and Addington Historical Society, which administers it today.

Delicate neo-classical doorcase and windows, superb joinery in the cornice, pilasters and door surround. This is one of my favourite houses - clapboard can lay claim to sophistication like no other building material IMHO.
north facade
The house has identical fronts, often seen in  houses of the era. The south side facing the river, gardens and park was actually 'the front' facade. Several PEC homes of the era have the same feature.
Brenda and our lovely guide

MacPherson House parlour
Thanks to our delightful guide, who interpreted the house, its furnishings and the life of the 1830's when this house was the only significant house north of the river.
Napanee River from the ballroom window

stair runner woven on MacPherson House loom by a  gifted volunteer
 And thanks to the volunteers, both those 'below stairs' and those costumed servers in the summer kitchen, who offered choices of very good tea, scones, jams and cream.

Below stairs - winter kitchen

For more information, because Brenda and I really think you should go for tea, visit


  1. How nice of you to include me in your recollections of this tour and tea! I'm so glad to have seen MacPherson House, and the scones went down very well indeed.

  2. Katherine SedgwickJuly 20, 2012 at 8:33 PM

    What a beautiful house! Long ago I worked with Helen Hutchison's daughter-in-law (a lovely person) and I remember her telling me about her hard work on the MacPherson House - but shamefully, I have never visited it. As someone who loves and frequents New England, I couldn't agree with you more about the beauty and sophistication of clapboard.

  3. Just wanted to let you know, I pinched a copy of the house taken from the river - just for my own files. It's a great shot.