"Armadale", 102 Church Street, c. 1865

The house at 102 Church Street was built in 1865 for Dr. William Henry MacDonald shortly after he opened his Antigonish practice. He originally bought the property from Sara P. Hill, a spinster. The Harvard-trained physician was known affectionately as "Doctor Bill". Many of his patients were poor farmers and fishermen; they paid for his services with produce or codfish. He must have been sentimental as well as generous, for he called his new residence "Aramadale" after Armadale Castle in Skye.

The 1 1/2 storey clapboard house with its stone foundation can easily be categorized as Maritime Vernacular. It represents a blending of New England, Scottish and classical influences; this synthesis led to the development of distinctive regional variations throughout Maritime Canada. The plain facade marks a striking contrast with the riotous ornamentation of late 19th-century designs. Its decorative features are minimal, largely limited to the pronounced corner pilasters. The most distinctive feature of "Armadale" is the facetted, or five-sided dormer. This component, along with the broader rectangular floor plan, was borrowed from the Scottish building tradition.

The house has undergone substantial alterations over the years. Some of these can be attributed to "Doctor Bill" who made necessary additions to accommodate his growing family. The Fire Insurance Map for 1934 notes that the house included a verandah at this time, and was surrounded by a cluster of outbuildings, including two stables. In 1902 Dr. MacDonald built himself a larger and more pretentious residence at 98 Church Street.

Cindee Moore

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