Description of Historic Place
Glenaladale House is a large, two storey brick Georgian house with a hipped roof and verandah located on a large rural estate in Tracadie Cross bordering on Tracadie Bay.
Glenaladale House is valued for its age, as a good example of Georgian style architecture, its fine craftsmanship, its construction materials and method, its associations with the MacDonald family and the history of the area, and its importance to its community as a visual landmark.
This house was built in 1883-1884 by philanthropist Sir William Macdonald (1831 - 1917) for his brother John Archibald MacDonald (died 1903). Very likely the house was designed by Montreal architect Alexander Cowper Hutchinson (1838 - 1922). The contractor was James Hodgson and local estate agent Henry J. Cundall (1833 - 1916) was the building superintendent. Sir William Macdonald was born in Prince Edward Island and was the grandson of Captain John MacDonald of Glenaladale (1742 - 1810) who owned Lot 36 and settled Highland Scottish Catholics there in 1772. The Glenaladale Settlers came to Prince Edward Island on the vessel Alexander and sailed up the Hillsborough River to their new lands. William was the youngest son of Hon. Donald MacDonald, a member of the Legislative Council for PEI. Donald and his wife, Anna raised their six children on the homestead farm begun by Donald's father, Captain MacDonald in 1771. In 1883, William decided to build a fine brick house for his older brother, John A. MacDonald on the same farmstead in Tracadie Cross.
William MacDonald left Prince Edward Island at a young age and by 1900, he had been knighted and was one of the wealthiest men in Canada and head of the MacDonald Tobacco Company, headquartered in Montreal. His educational philanthropy included large gifts to McGill University, MacDonald College, University of Guelph and the construction of several MacDonald Consolidated Schools in PEI, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
John Archibald MacDonald and his family were living on the 1771 homestead farm of Capt. John MacDonald when the Glenaladale House was built. A massive 277' x 52' barn was constructed at the same time as the house at a cost of $22,000. The Tracadie Tea of 1887 was held at Glenaladale hosting upwards of 5000 people. The barn housed the refreshments and dancing. Unfortunately, the barn was lost in a 1907 fire, but the house was spared.
After John Archibald MacDonald's death in 1903, the house and lands were purchased by Major Charles MacKinnon of Lot 16. When he left for California four years later, he sold the property to his brother, Arthur W. MacKinnon who operated a mixed farming operation and the Glenaladale Silver Black Fox Ranch. The property remains with the MacKinnon family.
Glenaladale House continues to be an important visual and cultural landmark in its community.
Source : Culture and Heritage Division, Department of Tourism and Culture, Charlottetown, PE
File #: 4310-20/G14
The heritage value of Glenaladale House is shown in the following character-defining elements:
- the overall massing of the house
- the location and setting of the house
- its Prince Edward Island brick construction
- the symmetrical construction of the house
- the hipped roof
- the pitch of the gable roof of the kitchen wing
- the placement of the doors
- the size, shape and placement of the windows with the four-over-four and six-over-six lights
- the window lintels
- the size and placement of the four brick chimneys
- the roof dormers
- the wood construction verandah
- the kitchen wing addition