Who would think of building on an island that can only be reached at low tide?
Sir William Cornelius Van Horne built a large summer estate named “Covenhoven” on Minister’s Island just offshore from St. Andrew’s-by-the-sea, New Brunswick. The island is accessible by a road during the Bay of Fundy‘s low tide.
The Passamaquoddy (First Nation) people lived on this island: Qonasqamqi Monihkuk (try saying that fast three times), for thousands of years. In 1790, Samuel Andrews, an Anglican minister and Loyalist, built a home here, hence the name.
During the 1890’s Van Horne, who built the Canadian Pacific Railroad across Canada also designed this 10,000 square-foot (approximately 1,000 square-meters) cottage with the help of Montreal architect Edward Maxwell. The house has 50 rooms, 17 of which are bedrooms, 11 are bathrooms and there are 11 fireplaces.
I had the pleasure of seeing this house this summer and found some interesting features to share with you.
This is the dining room fireplace. Unfortunately little from the original house furniture and finishing have remained. They were either auctioned off or painted over.
In the kitchen are the large stove and icebox.
Even though Van Horne was a very wealthy man I thought it was interesting that he (or the architect) made use of storage facilities in the master bedroom
Like under the eaves.
As well as the upper part of the closets.
I love the glass on this chandelier. Our tour guide said that Van Horne’s wife spent a lot of time alone in this room since her husband needed very little sleep.
Next we went downstairs to the billiards room.
How fabulous that the lower level was lit up by the glass stair risers.
Here you see the upper and lower lighting in one fixture. And to the right of the photo there is the head of a gigantic buffalo.
And here is a closer shot above the fireplace.
A beautifully crafted billiards scorekeeper.
Across the hall is a restored room where Van Horne did his painting. Just imagine what this place must have looked like in its hey day.
He also had creative solutions for power and heating.
Exterior and interior photos for a windmill.
Van Horne also kept thoroughbred horses and a herd of Dutch belted cattle on the island, and he had heated greenhouses built to ensure a supply of the best fruits and vegetables year round.
On spectacular land and surroundings, the Van Horne summer estate is open to visitors in the summer. Currently managed by Van Horne Estate on Ministers Island Inc.VHEMI It is launching a campaign to restore this National Historic Site.
All images copyright Judy Weiss. All rights reserved.
Home Tour: Covenhoven on Minister’s Island