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McFarland House - Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario

This wonderful scenic property  was granted to Scotland-born John McFarland from King George III in 1798, and the handmade red brick house was build by him and his son James two years lather.

This makes it one of the few Niagara-on-the-Lake buildings to pre-date the War of 1812 - there even fewer that survived it.

Location: 15927 Niagara Parkway, Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, Canada

McFarland House 

In 1813, American soldiers captured John McFarland while he was working in the fields, and was taken to Greenbush, N.Y. where he remained a prisoner of war until 1814. His home, meanwhile, was used as a hospital by both British and American forces, depending on who ruled the Niagara frontier at the time.

Legend has it, McFarland was so heartbroken by what he saw when he returned home from prison, it contributed to his death soon after. The house was badly damaged, missing all its doors, windows and mantels. Most of the property was burned and 21 of his horses were missing. McFarland's tombstone at St. Mark's Church says these events "enervated him so much that he died a few months afterward in the 64th year of his life".

Yet, the name McFarland is very much part of today's Niagara-on-the-Lake. Damaged but not destroyed (most everything in Newark and St. Davids didn't escape the torch), the home was patched up and used by McFarland's descendants for nearly 150 years. Once out of the family's hands, it was abandoned and boarded up, becoming a target for vandals.

It was purchased by the Niagara Parks Commission in 1943, and in 1959 it was renovated - at great expense - in the Loyalist tradition of the 1820s and 1830s. It has been open for public tours ever since.

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