Clyde Hall – Caldwell Mansion

Clyde Hall

Caldwell Mansion

Caldwell Family

“They accepted the wilderness at its worst, defied it, and won.

It was a triumph of the human spirit over disaster.”

“The Caldwells of Lochwinnoch, Renfrewshire, Scotland, can be traced in direct lineage to an Alexander Caldwell, born 1636, died 1706.  From this ancestor three successive generations of Alexander Caldwells carried on the family name until the auld Kirk burying ground gave them perpetuity in slabs of stone.  Then came the first break when William Caldwell, son of the fourth Alexander, left the glens and braes, exchanging an Arcady for a wilderness.

William Caldwell was prospering in the Paisley shawl trade when the economic disaster, following the Napoleonic wars, blasted the weaving industry into financial ruin and drove its dependents into poverty.  Then for many a family came the most difficult decision of a lifetime – to emigrate and transplant the roots of generations or to remain and suffer with kinsfolk. To their everlasting honor they did not shrink from meeting the only alternative, and this country gained thereby an infusion of that rugged independence of character which is the glory of the Scot, William Caldwell and his family were among those who accepted this challenge of destiny.

They came on the Earl of Buckinghamshire, William Caldwell, and his highland wife, Margaret McCallum, and their children, Margaret, Mary, Alexander and Boyd, who with 600 others faced a seven-weeks’ voyage under distressing conditions before setting foot on land.  The limits of space preclude giving many names from the passenger list of emigrants on the Buckinghamshire, and other sailing ships, “George Canning”, “Commerce”, and “David of London”. Many of their descendants still live on the homesteads they hewed in the pioneer townships of Lanark.

Caldwell, and another emigrant, James McIlraith were members of the Paisley Townhend Emigration Society, and having drawn their location tickets from Colonel William Marshall, Superintendent of settlement at the Lanark depot, they selected their lots on either side of the Third Concession Line of Lanark Township, about seven miles northwest of the present village.  They must have had an eye for something reminiscent of the glens of home for here a brawling burn known as the Little Clyde, cascades down a charming vista.  Most appropriately, they called in ‘The Clachan” (small village), and it remained the motivating spirit of the Caldwell-McIlraith Settlement. Here, far from the noisy gnat-swarm of cities, they wrought out their separate destinies.  They accepted the wilderness at its worst, defied it, and won. It was a triumph of the human spirit over disaster.

The Caldwells and all that gallant company started from scratch.  Supplies and material were expensive and hard to procure.  In summer they had to be ‘man-packed’ over the forest trails from distant centers.  Their first log dwellings were chinked with moss, and their clothes were homespun. But there was an abundance of game and fish and wild fruit.  They learned the first crude methods of making maple syrup and sugar, and brewed tea of herbs.”

(excerpt from an article by Harry J. Walker in “The Ottawa Journal”, March 23, 1937, p.6)

Caldwell Family

William Caldwell (1774-1863) and Margaret McCallum Caldwell (1788-1879) had ten children, six girls, and four boys: Margaret (1812-1877), Alexander (1815-1872), Mary Ann (1818-1872), Mary (1816-1852), Boyd (1818-1868), Euphemia (1821-1874), William (1822-1862), John (1825-1897), Ann (1830-?) and Agnes (1833-1907).

Clyde Hall

Alexander ‘Sandy’ Caldwell in 1869

Clyde Hall, the Caldwell mansion, was built in 1846 by the wealth generated from a successful lumber trade established by Alexander ‘Sandy’ Caldwell and his wife, Mary Ann Maxwell Caldwell.

Mary Ann died suddenly of a heart attack at age 54, in 1872, and her husband, ‘Sandy’ passed away three months later at age 57. (It’s been said that he never recovered from her death, and that he died from a broken heart)

Clyde Hall in its early days

William Clyde Caldwell, son of Alexander Caldwell and Mary Maxwell Caldwell

Miss Caldwell, June 1881, taken in Ottawa, by Wm. Topley (Library & Archives Canada)

Clyde Hall with the addition of a summer kitchen c. 1889

“Mr. W.T. Traynor, chairman of the reception committee, was waiting with a beautiful sleigh drawn by four beautiful white horses, driven by Mr. James McArthur, and gaily decorated in honor of the occasion.”

“The watch was presented by Mr. W.T. Traynor, and was a beautiful specimen of the watchmaker’s art, being solid gold, 14 carat, 21 jeweled, hunting case, bearing on the outside the monogram, A.C.C., while on the inside was engraved, “Presented to Lieut. A.Clyde Caldwell, R.C.R. by his fellow citizens, on his safe return from active military service in South Africa, Lanark, Dec. 1900.”

Clyde Hall estate was passed down to Thomas Boyd ‘T.B.’ Caldwell, the son of Boyd Caldwell, when he was left as “sole representative and proprietor of the Boyd Caldwell interests”, including the Caldwell Woolen Mill, lumber enterprises, mining rights, and a store in Lanark.

Thomas Boyd Caldwell, known as “T.B.” Caldwell, was a Member of Parliament for North Lanark, under Wilfred Laurier,

Thomas Boyd ‘T.B.’ Caldwell, M.P. for Lanark North, (1856-1932), was the last of the Caldwell family to own Clyde Hall

Clyde Hall c. 1900

April 9, 1908, p. 10, “The Ottawa Journal”

Clyde Hall – Legacy of the Caldwell Family

In Lanark village, the old Alexander Caldwell house, known as ‘Clyde Hall’, remained in the family for nearly a century.”

Clyde Hall remained in the Caldwell family until the summer of 1932, following T.B. Caldwell’s death, when it was sold to Mr. M.J. Cullen.

Cullen family

M.J. Cullen was the Chief Immigration Inspector of the Dominion, for three terms, and private secretary to the Hon. Wesley Gordon, Minister of Immigration.

Michael Joseph Cullen (1884-1951) married Mary Louise ‘Minnie’ Nagle, (1877-1952) in Carleton Place, in 1907. Their children: John Arthur Cullen (1911-1992), Muriel Cullen Macdonald (1913-1992), Kathleen Cullen Macdonald (1915-1991), Dorothy Cullen Burnett (1916-2005), Frances Cullen (1916-1919), Helen Cullen McCormick (1920-1975), and Mary Cullen Meagher (1929-2011)

When the Cullen family bought Clyde Hall, Michael was 48, his wife, Minnie, was 45. Their children: John was 21, Muriel was 19, Kathleen was 17, Dorothy was 16, Helen was 12, and Mary was 3.

“Mr. M.J. Cullen has recently bought from the T.B. Caldwell estate, the fine old residence known as ‘Clyde Hall’, in Lanark Village.”

The Cullen family enjoyed Clyde Hall as their summer home, and many upgrades were completed while they owned the property. They retained one of the Caldwell employees, Mr. Fred Roffey, as their gardener and caretaker.

The Cullen family remained at Clyde Hall for six years, then in 1938, they sold the property to Ottawa businessman, Herbert Plant and his family.

Clyde Hall Sold

to Herbert Plant

Mr Plant, a brother of a former Mayor of Ottawa, and prominent businessman, intends further to improve the property.”

Plant family

In the fall of 1938, M.J. Cullen sold the property to Herbert A. Plant, (1893-1952) an Ottawa businessman. Plant was the co-founder of Plant and Anderson Limited, and in later years he was a Director of the Ottawa Rough Riders. His brother, Frank H. Plant, served as Mayor of Ottawa from 1921-1923, and again in 1930.

Clyde Hall was a summer home for Herbert Alfred Plant (1893-1972) and his wife, Gladys Lilian Robertson Plant (1895-1986), and their two children, Isabel Plant, (1922-2006), and James Plant, (1925-2018)

Gladys Plant was a member of the Imperial Order of the Daughters of the Empire (I.O.D.E.), and frequently entertained members of her club at Clyde Hall, during the summer months, when they were in residence there.

June 27, 1940, p. 10 “The Ottawa Journal”

The Plant family enjoying the pool at their home, Clyde Hall, Lanark, ON

Clyde Hall For Sale

$29,500

In the fall of 1957, Clyde Hall was put on the market:

“14 spacious rooms, and 58 acres. One of the finest estates in the valley.”

Sept. 28, 1957, p. 23, “The Ottawa Journal”

May 15, 1958, p. 26, “The Ottawa Citizen”

McMullen family

Pearl Lusk McMullen, daughter of Howard Lusk and Jessie Grant, purchased Clyde Hall in 1958, along with her son, Thomas ‘Bob’ McMullen and his wife, Jean Victoria Wilmott McMullen, and established the Clyde Hall Nursing Home.

Pearl’s grandchildren, Sharron ‘Sherri’ McMullen (Lillico), James McMullen, Gloria McDonald, Betty Ann McMullen Stanton, Robert McMullen, and Thomas McMullen spent their summers at Clyde Hall.

July 19, 1958, p. 7, “The Ottawa Journal”

September 3, 1958, p. 35, “The Ottawa Citizen”

On March 19, 1963, Pearl McMullen, owner of the Clyde Hall Nursing Home, passed away suddenly, at age 62.

By the fall of 1963, Clyde Hall was under new management.

In 1963 – Clyde Hall Nursing Home

Under New Management

Nov. 7, 1963, p. 43, “The Ottawa Citizen”

May 23, 1964, p. 37, “The Ottawa Journal”

By the early 1970s, the structure was abandoned by the owner of the property, who lived in Toronto. The building became rundown, and vandalism and looting were rampant.

1970sYouth Programs

& Project Echo

In the summer of 1972, a program called Opportunities for Youth was established in Lanark County. One of the projects initiated was called ‘Project Echo’, and they received a grant of $12,200, to provide a center for local youth. The owner of Clyde Hall (unknown) a resident of Toronto, kindly allowed the members of the project to use it, rent free for their drop-in center.

“They received a grant of $12,200 to provide a center for local youth.”

July 6, 1972, p. 2, “The Perth Courier”

The program ran from July – September in 1972. In the afternoons and arts and crafts program included bead-work, fabric printing, ceramics with clay, batik, and candle-making. Evening programs featured games, music and entertainment. On September 3, 1972, the program’s final event, a music festival, was held at Clyde Hall, Toronto music group, ‘Crab Shaw’, were the evening’s special guests. Local musicians were invited to play. The festival attracted between 100-200 youth.

“By the late 1970s, there were safety concerns brought to the attention of the Lanark Township Council concerning an open well on the abandoned property.”

  The property remained empty, abandoned, and overgrown during the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.

Mysterious Fire of 1999

The fire of 1999 destroyed the interior, and left only a shell of the former glory of the once stately building. It is believed to have been caused by arson.

Very little remained of the beautiful historic home of the Lanark Caldwell family.

Lillico family

In an article in by Iris Winston, in “The Ottawa Citizen”, Oct. 4, 2003, p. 81:

“As a teenager, Mrs. Lillico had spent her summers helping at the retirement home that her grandmother, Pearl McMullen, operated out of Clyde Hall. The house, together with the 300 acres around it, was eventually purchased by Ms. McMullen in 1958.  After her sudden death five years later, ownership reverted to the Toronto businessman who held the mortgage on the property.

Mrs. Lillico made several unsuccessful attempts to buy the house from him.  Disheartened, she recognized that she must let her dream go.

In 1999, Mrs. Lillico discovered that her grandmother’s property had been purchased by a local developer, who intended to use most of the land for a golf course.  He was also ready to sever the house and 10 acres around it from the golf course development.  The news rekindled Mrs. Lillico’s dream to own the property.

Although the interior had been gutted (by the fire of 1999), and the roof had caved in, the two-foot-thick stone walls remained intact.  So did Mrs. Lillico’s passion for the house.  By January 2001, it was the Lillicos’ new home.

Rebuilding and recreating Clyde Hall in the image of the original with the added conveniences of modern plumbing and kitchen facilities was an 18-month undertaking.

Mr. Lillico recalled, “..We made sure that reconstruction was identical to the way it was in 1870.  The beams are the same size, hooked into the stone in the same way.  The timbers are extra heavy and extra-large.  We had to use a manual lift to put them in place in each floor.”

Eaves and decorative overhangs were customized to replicate the originals.  The banister and a few of the wooden spindles below it had survived the fire.  Replicas were made to complete the reconstruction of the staircase.

It took some time to find a tradesman willing to tackle the complex job, until Michael Miller, an enterprising fellow from Carleton Place accepted the challenge.

The whole project, from purchase through renovations has cost the couple about $700,000.”

photos by Wayne Cuddington, “The Ottawa Citizen”, Oct. 4, 2003, p. 81

Oct. 4, 2003, p. 81 “The Ottawa Citizen”

New Gates added 2011

In 2011, local Blacksmith, Tony Walsh, created new gates for Clyde Hall.

April 9, 2011, p. 39, “The Ottawa Citizen”

Salzmann Family

photo: from the Clyde Hall website – http://www.clydehall.com

In 2017 Liisa and Robert Salzmann moved from Toronto and purchased Clyde Hall. Liisa is a gourmet chef, and Robert is a certified Master Pastry Chef. He also works part time as a Professor at Algonquin College, teaching baking and pastry arts.

Clyde Hall offers High Tea, Rehearsal Party Dinners, Gift-Opening Brunches, and Wedding Cakes. They also offer courses on the art of running a bed and breakfast business.

Photos of Clyde Hall Bed and Breakfast:

The driveway and scenic grounds of Clyde Hall as it appears today

Entrance hall and staircase at Clyde Hall

One of the elegant rooms at Clyde Hall

Clyde Hall parlor

Decorated to preserve the historical features

One of the bedrooms at Clyde Hall

Elegant dining at Clyde Hall (photo from the Clyde Hall website)

Clyde Hall

Past, Present, and Future

…And so, we’ve witnessed the evolution of Clyde Hall, from its proud beginnings as the mansion of the wealthy Caldwell family, those hopeful sons and daughters of Scotland who came to the New World, worked hard, and found success. The Caldwell offspring continued their legacy, provided employment for many, served their communities in politics, and for them Clyde Hall became a proud symbol of their success.

The families that followed added their own special spirits to this historic home – Michael Cullen, the Chief Inspector of Immigration for the Dominion, his wife, Minnie, and their large busy brood of children, laughing and playing on the grounds. The Cullen family hosted the overseas members attending the Imperial Conference within the walls of Clyde Hall.

Next, there was Herbert A. Plant, founder of Plant and Anderson Limited, Director of the Ottawa Rough Riders whose brother had risen to the ranks of Mayor of Ottawa, and Herbert’s wife, Gladys Plant, an elegant hostess, and their two children, Isabel and James.

Pearl Lusk McMullen came next to Clyde Hall, with her vision for a beautiful home for the aged, set among the tall trees and spacious lawns – the perfect setting for her guests to heal their bodies and their spirits. The McMullen grandchildren never forgot their idyllic summers spent at the mansion – Sherri, James, Gloria, Betty Ann, Robert, and Thomas.

Although Clyde Hall had a brief moment during the 1970s when it served the youth of the community, it may remain a mystery as to why the owner in Toronto left the property abandoned for so many years, or if the fire in 1999 was truly accidental.

Brian and Sherri Lillico, Clyde Hall’s next owners, took the burned stone shell, and pile of ashes, and through hard work and determination brought the mansion back to her former glory and beyond. Like her grandmother, Pearl, Sherri thought the magnificent home should be shared with others, and she and her husband established a bed and breakfast.

Clyde Hall’s current owners, Liisa and Robert Salzmann continue the tradition of inviting guests to their elegant country estate for rest, relaxation, fine dining, and special events. Robert, a Master Pastry Chef, and Liisa, a gourmet chef, bring the element of finely-crafted food to their inviting bed and breakfast.

As Clyde Hall evolves over the years we can only imagine what her future may hold. The estate is one of the crown jewels in Lanark’s past and present, and a monument to the proud history of the community. From a stately home for the Scottish lumber barons, to an elegant bed and breakfast fit for a king, Clyde Hall’s history, mystery, and mystique, lives on.

Clyde Hall is located at 131 Mill St. in beautiful Lanark, Ontario

For more information: https://www.clydehall.ca/

For more local history and stories set in Lanark County: http://www.staffordwilson.com

Arlene Stafford-Wilson

3 comments on “Clyde Hall – Caldwell Mansion

  1. Noreen Tyers says:

    From the time we first came to the area, it was a place that my imagination could have had such tales of delight, why have I waited so long to write down a few lines. Thanks Arlene.

  2. Rob Eady says:

    I live nearby and knew the Lillico family and had known much of their restoration. This is the first “complete” history of it that I’ve read. So glad to read your research and writings on this wonderful property.

    Thanks!

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