Stately manor in Kingston’s east end has storied history

*Paid Business Feature*

Whitney Manor at night. Supplied photo.

Minutes east of downtown Kingston, stately Whitney Manor looks out over the St. Lawrence River. Built in 1817 by Scottish seaman James McKenzie, this unique property and gorgeous limestone heritage building was designated a historic property in 1973.

Originally known as Greystone Manor, the property, which is now nestled within the residential subdivision of Glen Lawrence, was renamed Sopwell Hall in the 1970s, and then became Whitney Manor in the 2010s. The lots at 4 and 8 Starr Place are now for sale by the owners, in partnership with Cushman & Wakefield Kingston.

The land Whitney Manor sits on was purchased by McKenzie for the tidy sum of 50 cents an acre. He also purchased the 350 or so acres surrounding the property. As a commanding officer in the British Army, McKenzie had no trouble finding skilled labourers to build his dream home.

“When work was completed in 1817, the over 8,000 square foot farmhouse stood out as an architectural marvel,” reads the history section of the All Suites Whitney Manor website. “It was built in the likeness of an English estate, with very large rooms and cathedral ceilings. The beams were hand hewn, all the rooms upstairs and down had fireplaces, and there was even a flat section of the roof on which a fish pond was built.”

The building is comprised mainly of limestone and featured a formal ballroom on the second floor, as well as separate maid’s quarters and a chapel.

The property at Starr Place. Submitted photo.

“No expense was spared during the construction, which included the decision to use rectangular blocks instead of rubble. Along with making the building more structurally sound, those blocks gave the manor a decidedly more detailed and unique appearance than many of the other properties built during that time.”

McKenzie, with his dream home completed, set down permanent roots in the area. He also became Ontario’s premier steamboat captain on The Frontenac, the first Canadian-built steamboat on the Great Lakes.

So, where did the name Whitney Manor come from?

A well-respected pillar of the Kingston community, King Whitney, was the 15th owner of the property. A veteran of the Second World War, he beat the odds to return home, raise a family, and open a successful home furnishings store in downtown Kingston. King renamed the property Sopwell Hall, and it remained in his family for another two generations.

Other historical tidbits:

  • The third owner of this historic property, Henry Sadlier, had royal ancestors – one of whom was reportedly good friends with William Shakespeare.
  • In the 1930s, Hockey Hall of Fame inductee and World War I veteran Bill Cook owned the property.

The property on Starr Place now offers short and long-term accommodations as the All Suites Whitney Manor, combining timeless elegance with modern amenities and luxury in the heart of the 1000 Islands. Despite being split into five equally distinct suites, the Manor has kept its original design and structure intact.

Each suite presents its own distinguished character for guests to enjoy during their stay, whether short-term or long-term. The Whitney Manor has undergone extensive restoration along with upgrades to suite and common-area interiors, exteriors, as well as the grounds. This well-positioned boutique inn is located only minutes from Fort Henry, Kingston’s vibrant downtown, RMC, and Queen’s University.

This unique property and business offers investors and/or owner-occupiers a great opportunity to make their own mark on this historic piece of Kingston. Also offered is 8 Starr Place, an adjacent half-acre building lot. More details on the real estate offering are available by visiting Cushman & Wakefield Kingston — 4 & 8 Starr Place or by contacting the listing brokers Martin L. Skolnick and Scott Botting.

This article is sponsored by Cushman & Wakefield Kingston. Interested in a Business Feature on Kingstonist? Contact [email protected]

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