199 Main Street
- Media Type:
- Historical Name: The White House
Location: 199 Main Street
Legal Description: Plan 62 Part Lots 7 to 11 75 5/5 Main Pt Lots 1 to 5 W/5 Eyres Part
Lots 12 & 13 E/S Eyres Plan 28 see NTE
Property: House and a Carriage House
Date of Construction: 1873 for the house and 1900 for the carriage house
Heritage Status: Listed
Summary of Cultural Attributes:
Historical: The White House is situated on a six-acre tract acquired from Isaac S. Proctor by John Eyre in 1877. Although there are some suggestions that the house had been built in 1873, its construction date is usually given as 1879 and attributed to William J. Eyre (believed to be the same person whose name was generally know as John), a lawyer who started his Brighton practice in 1853.
Upon Mr. Eyre's death, the property was purchased in 1899 by Samuel G. M. Nesbitt with the title entered for his wife, Eleanor M. Nesbitt. Samuel started a local fruit storage and cannery that became known as the Nesbitt Cannery; he served as Brighton's Reeve 1900-1905 and 1907 and as Member of Provincial Parliament 1908 to 1914; he the key player in the building of the Elizabeth Public School in 1915, having paid for the land and donated a further $10,000 towards its construction. In 1900, the Nesbitts built a carriage house out back and in 1922 they began enlarging and upgrading the house - some of the additions being a front portico covering for the front entrance and tower with a widow's walk.
Following Mrs. Nesbitt's death in 1940, the house passed to their son Edwin J. Nesbitt and soon became the White House Inn, operated by Mrs. Irene Dixon; later a dining room and restaurant were added.
In 1973, following Edwin’s death, Joseph Langer purchased the 19-room inn and dining place. In December 1981, it was acquired by Gregory B. Mycyk, who along with his wife used it as a home and business known as White House Antiques. The present owner, Deirdre Weatherall, who lives in the house, uses the carriage house for a specialty antique business.
Architectural: The 2 ¾ storey, 7,700-square-foot mansion has 36 rooms with12- to13-foot ceilings, four sets of stairs, including a spiral staircase leading to the widow's walk. At one time, the third floor was a large ballroom. The main floor has four fireplaces, all with very prominent exterior chimneys. A large east side sun room and the car port feature balconies with large corner posts and turned spindles topped by a heavy balustrade. A hipped roof features a prominent cornice with double brackets. Most of the windows are arched, although the front portico has some small round and Romanesque windows.
The carriage house served as a stable and barn for feed storage in the early years. Hay was pulled in on a peak track through an opening on the west side. The structure is standard post-and-beam with vertical pine board siding.
Sources: MPAC; OLR Records; Homesteads, M. McBurney and M. Byers, 1979; That's Just the Way We Were, 2006, p.261.
- Municipality of Brighton Register of Properties of Cultural Heritage Value or Interest
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