Mac Leod-Haig-Mac Donald House, Strathlorne

by Terry Mac Donald

Mac Leod-Haig-Mac Donald House, StrathlorneGeorge Mac Leod and his wife, Kate Mac Leod built this impressive home in 1868 in order to maintain a growing family and reflect his status as a prosperous merchant. A contemporary of Wm. Mac Keen in business, Mr. Mac Leod had his home built on the high side of the road across from his thriving store. The remnants of this structure are the foundation that beckons us to an era that held much promise for the area. George Mac Leod had several other business interests around Inverness County and his home reflects the stature he held in the community.

The exterior decoration of the house has a Palladian window with a Greek revival single gable in the center overlooking the front door that is supplemented with narrow window surrounds. The glass is the original lead glass with bubbles throughout. The modified Gothic house has a dominant peaked dormer with a window that reminds people of a church window. The windows were typical of the period of six panes or lights over six. Narrow clapboard covers the entire building and the timber shows signs of hand tools at work. The house contains two central chimneys with the kitchen stove sharing a chimney with the adjoining dining room. Throughout the house there are five other fireplaces.

The roof is steeply pitched and suited to heavy rains or snowfall and characteristic of mid-nineteenth century Nova Scotia. The home is built on a solid foundation of hewn stone that has not faltered over the years. The dominant staircase and ten foot high ceilings with hardwood floors add to the distinct character of this beautiful home.

The home passed from George Mac Leod to Rev. Thomas P. Haig and his wife Francis Mary Haig and his family from New Jersey.USA and served as Rev. Haig's retirement home for many years. Rev. Haig named his home and property Bemersyde, after his ancestral home. After his death it passed to Ms.Cathy Haig, his daughter and teacher in Mabou . Upon Ms. Haig's death it passed to Ms. Kay Snider, a long time family friend and nurse to Rev. Haig. The present owners since ten years are Robert and Cindy Mac Donald who are restoring the historic home to its original beauty. It is interesting to note that during the life of this historic home only three families have inhabited it.