Description of Historic Place
MacMillan-Cameron House is located on the brow of a hill, overlooking the harbour in Inverness, Cape Breton Island, and is one of the first houses seen when approaching the town from the west. This wood frame, two and a half storey Queen Anne Revival style house was built between 1908-1912. The building and property are located in the provincial designation.
MacMillan-Cameron House is valued for the property's association with the early period of industrialization in the region and its reflection of the entrepreneurial spirit of an early 20th century businesswoman.
The building was originally planned by Sam Whiston, the local druggist. Construction started around 1908 but it was soon realized to be too costly an enterprise for Mr. Whiston. In 1912 the building was purchased by Dr. Charles Edward MacMillan, a physician who owned and operated the Imperial Drug Store as well as serving the medical needs of the community. Until his death in 1923 Dr. MacMillan and his family maintained the building as a family dwelling and doctor's office. Mr. MacMillan was also the MLA for Inverness County from 1906-1911.
Upon his death in 1923, Mrs. Cameron established the Sea View Inn in the building, and continued to run this business for several deacades. The current owner is the grand-daughter of the original owners.
The history of the property reflects the general development of the community of Inverness, especially the busy years of the early twentieth century. With the development of the coal mines in the region and the building and decline of the railway, many government officials and business people stayed at the Sea View Inn. Guest signatures in the hotel registers include Prime Ministers Sir Robert Bordon and Richard B. Bennett.
MacMillan-Cameron House is also valued for its Queen Anne Revival style architecture. This two-and-a-half storey wood frame structure is clad in wood shingles, with a steeply pitched roof and a two-storey corner tower with decorative shingle pattern and the double belt course between the first and second storey.
Source: Provincial Heritage property files, no. 252, Heritage Division, 1747 Summer Steet, Halifax, NS
Exterior character-defining elements of MacMillan-Cameron House relating to its Queen Anne Revival style include:
- 2 1/2 storey wood frame construction;
- clad in wood shingle with a steeply pitched hipped roof;
- basic massing and proportions demonstrate the four-square style, including the roof profile, the dormer placement, and the general simplicity of exterior decorative detail;
- two storey corner tower with decorative shingle pattern and double belt course between the first and second storey.
Interior character-defining elements of MacMillan-Cameron House relating to its Queen Anne Revival style include:
- three fireplaces on the ground floor;
- ornamental tiling around the fireplace;
- interior door design made from imported cypress wood.