Robert McLean House at Fernbank
The old brick house painstakingly constructed by hand in 1823 with every brick handmade on the land surrounding the dwelling was built by Robert McLean. Five generations lived in the house until 1933 when it was sold.
The Building of the McLean House and early life living there
The building of the McLean house was a Herculean effort by man and beast. Early in its history the McLean homestead was known as Pinehurst Farm. Construction of the brick house started in 1823 and the McLeans moved in two years later.
The house was built at a total cost of about $1,600. The red clay bricks, 65,000 in all, were made on the farm, with oxen stamping the clay and water mixture into a pliable condition. The bricks were then moulded by hand into brick size wooden containers.
The 12 inch thick beams were hewn by hand; the foundation was composed of stone and cemented by hand. The interior walls and partitions were made of solid brick and plaster. The interior woodwork and doors were made of red pine planking and all the flooring consisted of wide pine planking. All the interior doors were made in the “Bible” design, sometimes called “prayer doors”. The design had a white cross in the upper panel.
There are five fireplaces, three on the first floor and two on the second floor. The mantels are of red pine. The kitchen fireplace was equipped with a crane, from which the cooking pots were hung. At one side was the oven. It is believed that in baking, a wood fire was kindled in the oven, and when the fuel was reduced to coals, they were raked out and the freshly kneaded loaves of bread placed inside to bake.
As was the tradition of the times, two of the first floor rooms were reserved as bedrooms for the elders of the family.
The barns were built with high stone walls topped by lumber sawn from the trees felled to clear the land. The farm had stables for horses, barns for cattle and folds for sheep.
McLean house was the locale for husking bees, sugar making, quilting bees and dances, and headquarters for and barn raising bees in the area.
For more information on the McLeans go to “Our People, Our History” on this website.
(Recorder and Times- Darling Collection Book 3)