Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Cayman Brac Historic House For Sale

The Spellman McLaughlin Home on Cayman Brac is up for sale. One of a few remaining homes built in the traditional manner, the Spellman McLaughlin Home once sheltered 133 people in the 1932 Hurricane and served as a medical and distribution center for scarce emergency supplies after the storm had passed. Priced at US $375,000, the home is located in the Creek district and includes the house and its adjoining lot, including a private graveyard.

In 1995, the National Trust awarded current owner Brunzil McLaughlin-Rivers, the Award of Distinction for the Preservation of Historic Places. With many such homes either being torn down to make way for modern developments or being left to decay, the house is amongst the few of its kind that has been maintained and is in good condition. 

Construction began in 1926, with Captain Spellman McLaughlin overseeing all aspects of the construction process, according to the National Trust. Largely built of imported wood from Mobile, Alabama, the home was completed in 1930 and Captain McLaughlin and his wife raised their four children there. When he passed away in 1991, he willed it to his youngest child, Brunzil McLaughlin-Rivers, who renovated the home and lived there with her husband and son until they left the island in recent months and put the home up for sale. The home covers 1,628 square feet and has eight exterior rooms built around a central dining room. It has a complete wrap-around verandah, and while modernised to accommodate television, internet and telephone service, as well as kitchen and bathroom facilities, the home has changed little since 1930.

According to the Trust’s Historic Programmes Manager Denise Bodden, they only have jurisdiction over homes which are donated to them and cannot financially afford to keep every historic home in the Cayman Islands under their care. Therefore, they encourage homeowners who live in historic homes to care for them. “I would suggest that those who have traditional Caymanian homes on Cayman Brac should try to protect them before development really hits the island,” said Bodden. She said that the Trust has recognised a number of homes on the island that should be protected under the law, particularly the Spellman McLaughlin Home, the Carter House and the Eldemire House, for their unique architectural elements, the fact that they are among the oldest structures on the island and because they survived both the devastating hurricane of 1932 and Hurricane Paloma in 2008.

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