They Called it Burn Brae House

They Called it Burn Brae House


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The Village of Lanark was settled by weavers who made their way from Lanarkshire in Scotland. These early settlers were not farming people, but weavers who had suffered hardships in the home land and decided Canada would be a better place for their family. The story goes that when the first contingent showed up in Lanark there was simply a piece of paper attached to a tree that said “Lanark”.

By 1824 the population was 1,560 and one of the pioneers was John Jamieson and his granddaughter Elizabeth (Bess) who lived in a home on George Street. The house called Burn Brae and is listed as being built in 1843 for A.G. Hall who was the first postmaster in the settlement. It is set on a rise fronted by a stone wall with an ornamental wrought iron fence around it. Close inspection reveals different building periods of the home and the roof line is still original but the ornate porch was added in 1890.

There was once 4 large bedrooms that the Thomas McGuire family lived in at one time and it was McGuire who ran the telegraph office from this home in the 1880s. Mrs. McGuire sold milk and gave out fresh cookies to the local children who came to buy milk for their families from the cow she kept out in the back.

Mrs. Jamieson who bought the home in 1933 lived there with her sister and was one of the local Lanark Village historians. She and co-author  Jessie Anderson compiled the book “The Caldwells of Lanark”. She was a local storyteller and frequently told the tale of the only Jewish wedding in Lanark Village when Abel Cohen’s (local shoemaker) daughter was married who had his business two doors down from Burn Brae. Now the house has been converted into apartments and is up for sale.



1973 Photo


MLS®#: 1067039$269,90056 56 GEORGE Street-$269,00056 GEORGE Street-$269,000

DESCRIPTION:Fantastic 4 / 5 Unit investment property in Lanark Village. 3 – 2 bedroom units, 1- 1 bedroom unit, 1- Salon. Tenants pay utilities (heat/hydro). Fully rented, Long term tenants in 2 units. Unit 2 & 3 completely renovated in 2016. New windows throughout, Roof 2011 on back portion. Plenty of parking (paved). Great location, nice large property. Total gross rental income of 32,160.00 Annually. Don’t miss out on this great opportunity!!



The word Burnbrae is mostly spelled in one word but I found another historical home in New York state also spelled Burn Brae. Nothing to do with Lanark but an interesting story none the less.



Burn Brae Mansion was built in 1907 by Margaret Ross MacKenzie Elkin as part of the estate of George Ross MackKenzie, third president of the Singer Sewing Machine company, who made his fortune as confidant and advisor to Isaac Merritt Singer, the company’s founder.

Upon George’s death in 1892, with an estate valued at $3.5 million, seven of his children built elaborate summer mansions in Glen Spey. Margaret and her husband Charles Elkin built Burn Brae Mansion as the last family mansion and one of only three still surviving. It is believed that the house was designed by prominent architect Henry J. Hardenberg, who worked on a number of projects for Singer executives.

Margaret continued her father’s tradition of donating to many charities, and she enjoyed throwing lavish parties. She outlived several of her children, as did her parents, including her daughter Elsey, named for her grandmother, who died at 9; her namesake Margaret; Charles Jr. who died at 34; and grandbaby Levi, who died upon birth.

Charles Elkin was an engineer and inventor and held several patents including the Elkin Hose Clamp and for the mouthpieces on pipes and cigars. He also had a spring water bottling works behind the mansion near the woods. He was an accomplished organist.

Burn Brae Mansion has had five owners since the Elkins, and over the years it has served as a boarding house, a tea room during prohibition, and a bed and breakfast. The current owners, Mike and Pat Fraysse, have lovingly restored the character of the home and brought back many of the original elements. They currently operate the house as a bed and breakfast, along with a 12-room motel on the site of the former horse stables.

At least the last two owners – whose combined ownership spans more than four decades – and their guests, have reported unexplained occurrences, such as doors opening and slamming, children’s voices, balls bouncing, and the apparitions of a woman in white, a man in turn of the century clothing, and a more modern man in overalls. Visitors also often report the sounds of animals when no animals are present and the distinct sound of an organ playing, when there is no organ in the house.

More recently, an elderly couple in their 90s, the Hapijs, both died in the house. Guests say that they can still see them from the front yard playing chess by the big window, hear his classical music and smell her daily baking.

 Burn Brae Mansion

573 High Road
Glen Spey, NY 12737

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in The Townships Sun andScreamin’ Mamas (USA)

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read. Also check out The Tales of Carleton Place.



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The Louis on Sarah Street for $43,500 — Before and After– Architecture in Carleton Place

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The Brick Houses of Carleton Place

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The Stanzel Homes of Carleton Place

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About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

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