Description of Historic Place
This attractive one-and-a-half storey house at 5561 Main Street, at the corner of Main and Catherine Streets, was built, in 1876, by a wagon-maker named John C. Hicks. As one of the best examples of the Gothic Revival style in Manotick, this residence is a landmark residence constructed of red brick with contrasting buff brick quoins and window detailing.
The McFadden House is recognized for its heritage value by the Township of Rideau (now City of Ottawa), By-law 81/83.
The McFadden House is one of the best examples of the Gothic Revival style in Manotick. The decorative woodwork or 'ginger bread' trim on the eaves and front porch, a distinguishing feature of the house, is typical of Gothic Revival, which became popular in the late 1860's.
The original section of this residence, before the many additions were added, was a fairly simple but well-styled structure of red brick with yellow brick trim over the windows and yellow brick quoins. The original colour of the yellow brick can be seen inside the carriage house or garage where a whole corner of quoins has remained unpainted. Polychromatic brick was an important element of the Gothic Revival Style.
The present chimney (not built of the same brick) and a stained glass window were added by Dr. Leach. The stone rubble foundation is characteristic of many of the old buildings, although, in this case, an attempt has been made at some date to cover the stone with a thin layer of cement, to make them appear as fashionable cement blocks.
Two main additions have been made since the original construction. The second owner, Dr. Groves, added a kitchen on the north end, and an office for his practice on the south end. The Catherine Street wall of the 'office' addition is not square with the rest of the house. External visuals of these additions can be viewed by the broken and crumbling brick where the office meets the main house, and also the broken eave line between the two parts. The bay windows, facing Catherine Street, are characteristic of the 1890's. The office is an unusual shape as it not only follows the lot line along Catherine Street, but the line of the court yard wall as well.
During Dr. Leach's ownership, two porches were added. One, a covered veranda, was attached to the kitchen door. The other was an uncovered porch that has been replaced by a smaller closed-in veranda off the office and an open porch at the front door. Both porches have a raking eave and dentil trim. The main porch has a gable with bargeboard, V-jointing underneath the porch roof, decorative brackets and ornate woodworking. A third porch has similar inset raking eaves, without dentil trim.
The historical value of the McFadden House lies in its use as home and office for a succession of doctors including the legendary Dr. Leach. In 1882, Mr. Hicks sold the house to Dr. Groves. In 1916, Dr. Groves sold to Dr. A. B. Hyndman, one of his associates, who occupied the house briefly, and later sold it to Dr. W. J. Leach. Leach was originally from a North Gower farm, and he graduated in Medicine from the University of Toronto, in 1911, and returned to practice in Manotick in 1913. This house remained his home and office until his retirement in the late 1950's.
Dr. Leach operated his practice here for over 60 years. A typical country doctor, he did a lot of things besides practicing medicine, including the drafting of wills and performing baptisms for newborns, whose chances of survival were minimal. Dr. Leach also made up his own medicines and because of this, was able to sell them at a very reasonable price. After finishing the medicine, you would bring back the bottle to be washed and reused. People in the village remember that there was nothing to equal his cough medicine. Dr. Leach also treated many who were unable to pay. Dr. Leach was widely respected and beloved by the community.
The McFadden House is a landmark on Main Street due to its long occupancy by Dr. Leach.
Sources: Rideau Township Archives LACAC files; City of Ottawa Files 3418; The City of Ottawa By-law 81/83.
Character defining elements that reflect the heritage value of the McFadden House include its:
- gingerbread trim on front eaves and porch
- red brick with contrasting yellow brick quoins, and window and door trim
- stone rubble foundation
- stained glass window
- kitchen on the north end, and an office for his practice on the south end
- two bay windows facing Catherine Street
- veranda attached to the kitchen door
- smaller closed-in veranda off the office
- open porch at the front door
- porch gable with bargeboard, V-jointing underneath the porch roof, decorative brackets and ornate woodworking and treillage
- landmark status due to the long occupancy by Dr. Leach
- prominent location on Main Street