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STERLING STRATTON: If buildings could talk

This is the MacDonald/MacLaren Building that is now Windows on the Water at 558 Main St. in Montague. It was built 1850. SKETCH BY STERLING STRATTON
This is the MacDonald/MacLaren Building that is now Windows on the Water at 558 Main St. in Montague. It was built 1850. SKETCH BY STERLING STRATTON - The Guardian

By Sterling Stratton

Author/artist of “1,000 Island Images of Historic Interest”

At the Beginning

In the 1850s, most of the land on the north side of the Montague River was owned by William Watson.  It is thought that the current building at 558 Main Street was constructed as a general store at that time.

Business centre

The Montague River, which flows through the town, made Montague Bridge a centre for commercial activity and the new store was constructed close to it.  At that time, the “Town of Montague” was called “Montague Bridge”.

From 1885 to 1961

By 1859, Watson sold the property to James MacLaren, who continued to operate the general store on the premises.  Peter MacLaren sold the business to Duncan MacDonald in 1885.  The MacDonald family operated a store and rented out commercial space in the building until 1961.

Many uses

Over the years, the building has been home to a lawyer’s office, motor vehicle office, a hat and dress shop, sportswear store, and ice cream shop.  The attractive architectural features include wood single cladding, corner pilasters, three brick chimneys, sandstone foundation, original windows on the second storey and a gable roof.

History note

The name Montague Bridge owes its existence to a bit of luck.  The good fortune sprang from a decision to build a bridge over the Montague narrows.  The first mention of the bridge occurred in March 1825.  Funding for the bridge was modest and the Provincial Government specified that the work be finished by the inhabitants of the neighbourhood. 

ELSEWHERE ON THE ISLAND - 1871

Rev. S.E. Perrey of Mont-Carmel, the first Roman Catholic priest ever ordained in the colony, made a novel donation to the Miscouche Convent: a 200-pound pig.

Sketches of Family Homes available [Website: www.sketchesbystratton] may be ordered from the author/artist by calling 902-367-5150 or by email: sstratton@eastlink.ca

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