Built in 1888, Manse Lane was opened as Gananoque's first Bed and Breakfast by George and Jocelyn Bounds in 1989. In 2008, the home was sold to its current owners, Bruce and Seonaid Davis, who operate the B&B with the help of local hosts Liz, Ric, Tristy and Kristi.

According to a report prepared by heritage consultant Dr. Carl Bray and architectural historian Dr. Jennifer McKendry, Manse Lane is a typical example of late Victorian middle class house construction. Despite its name, Manse Lane was never used as a Manse - it was a private home associated with several prominent citizens. The name is derived from its location at the corner of Stone Street and Manse Alley.

Early days

Although Gananoque is well-known for its Loyalist roots, the area on the east bank of the Gananoque River was first settled by First Nations. In the late 1790s a thousand acres of land on the east side of the Gananoque River were granted to Sir John Johnson by the Crown for his military service on the side of England in the American War of Independence.

Manse Lane was recently recognized by the Town of Gananoque as a Heritage Tourist Inn.
Johnson never lived in Gananoque and in 1824 he sold the Manse Lane site to his sister, Mrs. Bowes, a widow. Soon after, she sold the property to John McDonald, a local businessman and prominent citizen. In 1825, McDonald created the residential subdivision with streets and alleys that now comprise the south ward of Gananoque. Stone Street was named at this time after Col. Joel Stone, Gananoque's founder.

In 1838, a house was built at the corner of John Street and Stone Street (just south of Manse Lane); remnants of this original house can be seen on the east side of the current house on that site. Elizabeth Barnett, a teacher and heroine of the 1838 rebellion, boarded at that house and was instrumental to the defence of Gananoque when she notified her landlord, Dr. Potter, and John McDonald about an impending rebel plot; the local militia was called out to defend the town and the rebel attack never materialized.

Over the ensuing 50 years the town began to flourish: the first bridge over the Gananoque River was built in 1844 and, in 1863, Gan was incorporated as a village (population 1,700). Known as the Birmingham of Canada, Gananoque was a manufacturing centre, with warves, warehouses and factories lining the mouth of the Gananoque River.

Charles B. Rogers, known variously as a merchant, contractor, insurance agent, merchant tailor, book keeper and a partner in Rogers Brothers, a general store, purchased the Manse Lane property from a Mary Welbanks for $1,200 in 1884. She had acquired the property from Hiram Welbank, of Picton, who owned other properties in Gananoque at the time.

In 1887-88, Charles B. Rogers constructed the current house. Dr. Janet McKendry, an architectural historian, described the house's features in a report prepared in 2008 for the current owners:
An austere symmetrical design with a central door flanked to each side by a tall projecting pavilion topped by a forward-placed gable, echoed in a gable placed flush with the pavilion's front; a simple pattern of small and large rondels are incised into the solid verge boards; tall narrow proportions in the pavilions and the individual windows reveal the late 19th century's interest in height; the general restraint in ornament and emphasis on symmetry reflect the influence of classicism, which will dominate architecture in the opening years of the twentieth century. (McKendry, 1 June, 2008, Report on 465 Stone Street South)

The new century

In 1913, Charles Rogers's family sold Manse Lane to Charles V. Ketchum for $5,000. Ketchum had been a manager of the Bank of Toronto. In 1917, the house was purchased by Samuel C. Taylor, member of a prominent Gananoque family at the time. Samuel's uncle, George Taylor, lived across the street and went on to become town reeve, a Conservative MP and a Senator. Samuel C. Taylor and his son, J. Keith Taylor, ran a business on Water Street retailing coal and wood. Taylor family members still reside in Gananoque.
According to local oral history, in the 1950s the house was converted to a duplex and was owned by a family by the name of Shishko (sp?). In the early 1970s the Barr family owned the house for a few years and apparently spent a considerable sum restoring Manse Lane to a single family home and its current glory. We believe that it was during this period that the ornate, flocked wallpaper was added to the front foyer and main staircase. If you haven't yet visited Manse Lane, this wallpaper alone is worth the price of admission!

From 1977 to 1989 the house at 465 Stone Street was owned by Mae and Jim Foulks, an older couple who ran a rooming house/tourist accommodation until Jim died. At that point the house was sold to a family from Toronto, who started the B&B business and then sold the house and business to Bruce and Seonaid Davis in May 2008.

In 2008, town council considered Manse Lane's value as a property typical of Gananoque's heyday and recognized the house as a heritage tourist inn.

Note: the history of Manse Lane Bed & Breakfast is based largely on the research prepared by Dr. Jennifer McKendry and on conversations with previous owners. If you have information about previous owners, have old stories to tell about the house, or old photos to share, please drop us a line!