Tag Archives: McTavish

Don’t Take the Beaver Off your Medallion!

Don’t Take the Beaver Off your Medallion!

photo victorian gothic— Lanark village

Today Jennifer Ferris and I were driving the back roads of Lanark County. We had lunch in the Village of Lanark and we passed by the Northern Gothic Airbnb.  Built in 1865 by the Caldwell family and now known as “the Hielans,” this great house is a treasure of the Ottawa Valley, situated in the heart of the village of Lanark on the Clyde river”. It’s pretty spectacular I tell you sitting on top of the hill and here is info on the place and their Instagram page.

Miss Caldwell from Lanark Village

I follow Northern Gothic on Instagram and had no idea that was the house in the village of Lanark until Jennifer pointed it out. She began to tell me about one of their ceiling medallions with a beaver on it. They had told her only the Caldwell homes had it. Hold on a minute!!!

Beckwith House- Jayne Munro-Ouimet

I wrote about another house on a hill in Beckwith which also had a medallion with a beaver on it and then another one in Middleville. So they are not only Caldwell homes, so I questioned Jennifer again. She then told me another story that Alice Borrowman from the Middleville Museum told her: there was a travelling artist who would stay in homes and in thanks would paint a beaver on the medallion. The number of leaves he painted was the number of the homes he had stayed in. Example: Three leaves, third home. Now this beaver still exists in the Beckwith McTavish house with three maple leaves in his mouth crouching on a fallen log.


The central hall Of the “Vertical Board House” in Middleville has a similar one to the McTavish home in Beckwith and it too has an interior ceiling medallion of a hand painted beaver. No idea how many leaves so time to contact everyone to solve this mystery! Update- Just heard there was 6 leaves on this medallion!

Related stories

The House on a Beckwith Hill–The McTavish House and Ceiling Medallions

More Memories of The Beckwith McTavish House

Middleville–The Vertical Board House–Another Beaver Medallion

A Walk through Lanark Village in 1871


Alexander Clyde Caldwell

So Where Was Caldwell Mills? Thanks Jaan Kolk

Caldwell’s Roller Mills and Sawmill Burnt to the Ground –$30,000 Damage

A Postcard to Caldwell’s Mills

The Caldwell Clan Photos

Read more about the family here: The Alexander Clyde Caldwell Family Part 1

Dalhousie Lake in Photos –Caldwell Family Summer Vacations

Revolutions of Death at Caldwell & Son’s

Sandy Caldwell King of the River Boys

Revolutions of Death at Caldwell & Son’s

John T. Robertson Obituary- Caldwell Bookeeper Rideau Canal

100 Hands Thrown Out of Work –Lanark Village

When History Comes to You–A Visit from Middleville

The House on a Beckwith Hill–The McTavish House and Ceiling Medallions

The House on a Beckwith Hill–The McTavish House and Ceiling Medallions


1973 newspaper clipping. If you have a photo of the current home–please send it to me.


About a mile east from Black’s Corners a deed for this hillside property was given in 1824 to  John McTavish, but the home was not built until the 1870s. Foundation stones of the first dwelling which was either wood or log were found by former owner Donald Miller who owned the farm from 1950 until 1970 when it was sold to David Butler.

The McTavish tenure on the home lasted for upwards of 100 years when Hugh Timmins bought the property in 1932. After that former owners were: William J. Simpson, Elsie M. Lewis and Cecil Leslie Munro until Donald Miller took over.

Built similarly to two homes standing on a hill overlooking the countryside–warm mellow sandstone with gingerbread trim and a centre doorway that opens into a large hall welcomed family and friends for years. The highlight of this home was and hopefully still is— not only the exterior, but an interior ceiling medallion of a hand painted beaver with three maple leaves in his mouth crouching on a fallen log. There is no notation of who the artist is, and if it still is there I would love to see it.



 Jayne Munro-Ouimet sent me this photo-Linda here is a recent photo of the house on the hill between the school and the park in Beckwith. Alex Sharpe is my cousin and quite a family history buff. His mum Ruth lived there. Some of the family members went to the one room school on the ninth line. Ruth’s brother Cecil Leslie Munro bought the farm from his parents. I will see if I can find out when my great uncle purchased the farm. One of the Hudson ladies lives on Glen Isle.


Ceiling Medallions

There used to be a rumour that plaster ceiling medallions  were put there to keep the soot from candliers or gasoliers from showing. Ceiling medallions were popular decorative elements in 19th-century middle and upper class homes. Throughout decorating history, even residential ceilings were embellished with colour, striping, cast-plaster ornaments, corner fans, borders, specialty papers, and murals.

Stencils also appeared early on, but the late 19th-century Victorian era was the heyday of the embellished ceiling. Faced with ceiling heights of 9′ or more on the main floor, decorators always considered the ceiling along with the walls They were popular during the 1830s through the 1890s. According to period advertisements, the ceiling medallions that were meant for the centre of the ceiling above hanging light fixtures were sometimes called “centres.”

I guess we will never know but today you can buy medallions in all home renovation stores, and even though my original plaster ones disappeared in our home fire of 1995 I still made sure that all ceiling medallions were replaced. I hand painted most of them and when I began to paint them the renovators thought it was funny, but by the last one they wouldn’t put one up unless I painted it. The last one I did was was the angel medallion in the living room.






Descendants of Donald and Mary McTAVISH



PAGE 1  OF 1


(Head of Household)

McTAVISH, Alexander:   (1)
McTAVISH, John: 1 female  (2)

Beckwith 1820 Census Lanark County–Who Do You Know?


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.



History Still Lives on at The McEwen House in Beckwith

The House of Daughters –Stonecroft House

Update on The Manse in Beckwith

The Manse on the 7th Line of Beckwith

Home and Garden Before Home and Garden Magazine

The James Black Homestead

The Mysterious Riddell— H B Montgomery House

The Wall Mysteries of Lake Ave East -Residential Artists

The Manse on the 7th Line of Beckwith

Rescuing the Money Pits —The Other Dunlop Home with the Coffin Door

The Carleton Place House with the Coffin Door

Before and After in Carleton Place –The Doctor is in!

Heh Miss Wilsonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn! Carleton Place Heroe

Was This the Architect of the Findlay Homes on High Street?

The Carleton Place House That Disappeared

The McCarten House of Carleton Place

Old McRostie Had a Farm in Carleton Place

Time Capsule in the ‘Hi Diddle Day’ House?

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

Memories of Mississippi Manor

Day in the Life of a 70’s Pattie Drive Home – The Stay at Home Mom Era

Architecture Stories: The Hotel that Stompin’ Tom Connors Saved

Dim All The Lights — The Troubled Times of the Abner Nichols Home on Bridge Street

The Brick Houses of Carleton Place

So What Happened to The Findlay House Stone?

The Stanzel Homes of Carleton Place

The Appleton Chinchilla House



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