MacLachlan Store, Marble Mountain

by Jim St. Clair

MacLachlan Store, Marble MountainThe MacLachlan Store in Marble Mountain had the reputation in the early twentieth century of being one of the largest commercial buildings in rural Nova Scotia. Built by Dougald MacLachlan, the building appears from the front to be two storeys, but when viewed from the rear, it is evident that the building is five storeys high. The storeys below the front grade were for the storage of the various supplies needed to feed and support the large number of people employed in Marble Mountain in the excavation of limestone, dolomite and marble from the hillside of the site on the Bras d'Or Lakes.

The building has remained much in its original style as built around the turn of the Century. The second floor with its elegant staircase leading from the ground level housed the MacLachlan Family for several generations. The building is still owned by members of the Family.

The building represents the hopeful attitude present in Cape Breton from the 1880's through the 1920's with the opening of the railway, the steel plant and various mines around the Island. The building has much in common with similar buildings found in Truro and in the New England states with its large glass windows in which were displayed various items enticing buyers into the store.

The building also contained the office of MacLachlan who was one of the partners in the MacLachlan Lime Company and other business ventures in addition to the merchandising activities as carried on in this large store which gives such an insight into life in Inverness County at the turn of the Century.