History of Grey Gables

E.A Dunlop Home – 353 Mackay Street, Pembroke, Ontario

History compiled by Harry E. Fraser, 1979

(for the Historical Society’s tour of building)

The original property which encompassed the area from Alfred Street to the edge of the park on the south side of Herbert Street, west across MacKay Street to the river, and east across Herbert to the depth of a home lot, was first owned by Mr. Bell, a public land surveyor, and purchase in 1874. After several changes, the property was sold to Arunah Dunlop, who built the ‘Middleton’ house on the corner of MacKay and Alfred streets. The property was approximately two blocks long and two blocks wide.

Eventually, this land was divided and a portion was sold to Arunah’s son, Edward A. Dunlop to build his home. In order to place the house in a certain position, a deal was made with the town to donate the park just across Herbert Street, and put a curve on the street to be opened in between. (MacKay Street, on which the property is registered, was once called Supples lane).

Edward was born in 1876, and died in 1934. He married:

  • Mable Ferguson, who was born in 1883 and died in 1948.
  • They had four children:
  • Mable; (married George Hess)
  • Mary; (Mrs. Spragge)
  • Jean; (never married – died in 1978)
  • Edward – blinded and crippled in the Second World Was; was an M.P.P. at one time.

Mr. Dunlop was persuaded to enter politics, and became a member of the Provincial Legislature (before the first war). Mrs. Dunlop liked to entertain, and had several maids (upstairs and downstairs), cook, chauffeur, and gardener. The children were raised in Pembroke in their early years, but when Mr. Dunlop was appointed a provincial treasurer, he moved his family to Toronto.

The home named Grey Gables

Construction was started in 1911, and completed in 1913.

Six teams of horses, with men and scrapers were used to dig the cellar, and the soil take out was used to make the terraces surrounding the home. A Mr. Buske was in charge of the work. The line for the mortar had to run at least two years to mature.

Expected cost of the home was $50,000. Actual cost was $75,000 to $80,000. The Kehoe Bothers were the carpenters in charge of the building of the home.

A Mr. Wilnitz did the stone and brickwork. Me. Wilnitz home is on River Road near the Canada Veneers Plant, and the original structure is very little changed.

The apartment on the north side of the home was the music room, and there was to have been a large glass conservatory built onto the back of the house, to be entered directly from the home to the greenhouse.

Under the porch was a guild in wine cellar, however, never used.

Across Centre Street was a very large flower and vegetable garden, approximately half an acre. Also, there were two tennis courts on the west side, at the corner of Alfred Street, running to the river.

The wood paneling, stair rails, and rungs (or ports) are English oak. The floors are Canadian red oak.

Mr. Dunlop brought over a gardener from England, Mr. Joe Peach, who looked after the grounds, and was to be in charge of the greenhouse, which was never built. Mr. Peach lived in the small house facing Centre Street (now on the Middleton property).

When the depression came with its increased taxes and decreased income, Mr. Dunlop was obliged to let the house go for back taxes.

Brig. Bogart, a retired army officer, purchased the home from the town for $4,000 and later sold it to the Senor Remus Brothers for $4,500.

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