The Inn

Montrose Inn, one of the best examples of ‘ante bellum’ architecture in Ontario, was built in 1916 by Robert J. Graham, a prominent businessman and former mayor of Belleville, and remained in the family until the early 1980’s. The Inn with its many original features, grand crown mouldings, solid oak paneling, grand staircase, fixtures, and workings has been updated with modern ammenities and decor that celebrates the era while being fresh and inviting.

 History of the Graham Home

The Graham summer home, built by Robert James Graham (1859-1934), was constructed, starting in 1916 and completed June 1918. It was designed by Toronto architect Eustace Bird (1870-1950) in late 1915.  It was designed in the ante-bellum style reminiscent of southern estates over-looking the Bay of Quinte.  The Graham family came from near Kelso Scotland shortly after the war of 1812. Robert James Graham’s grandfather (James Graham 1784-1867) married Nancy Ostrum, a United Empire Loyalist, and gave birth to Robert Ketchan Graham in 1831. Robert Ketchan Graham (1831-1889) married Eliza Ann Roblin. Robert James Graham, their son, married Grace Almira Roblin and served as Mayor of Belleville (1901-1903) Robert James Graham was one of the pioneer members of the Bay of Quinte Country Club, a member of the Rotary Club, the Moira Masonic Lodge No. 11 and a member of John Street United Church. One of the buildings at Albert College remains a memorial to R.J. Graham whose interest in education was always foremost. He presented Belleville with the site of the present Memorial Park and was chiefly instrumental in the erection of the war memorial which adorns the park.

The 6.5 acre estate was the home of the Montrose Dairy, one of many successful Graham family businesses. Behind the Inn rests the barn foundations; burned approximately 1971. The original farm house and driving-shed (circa 1870’s) is now a duplex where the extended family of Roger and Suzette reside. The farm house was converted into a duplex  prior to 1916 as Robert J. Graham was known to reside here during the construction of Montrose. Robert J. Graham assisted his younger brother William Richard Graham (1875-1958) to complete his education, becoming a professor at Guelph University resulting in the dedication of Graham Hall as a result of his 41 years service to the Poultry department. His formula for chick starter rations was used as the basis for Pablum by the scientists at the Hospital for Sick Children. 

Robert J. Graham substantially built his fortune as a result of the importation of food dehydration equipment from Germany in 1914. Originally it was intended to manufacture dry rations for the RCMP and trappers; however, with the undeniable market for dry rations during WW1 his business plans changed. A manufacturing plant was built in Belleville 1917 expressly for dehydrated vegetables and apples while featuring four sharp freezing rooms and eight egg rooms.  

Montrose features seven bedrooms, four of which are now B&B guest rooms. The four front rooms were the bedrooms of Robert and Grace whose shared bathroom is currently located in the Bernice Suite. The two remaining rooms were the bedrooms of their children. The three remaining bedrooms were used by permanent staff and are located at the rear of the house in the servants’ quarters. The house featured an intercom system; some handsets remain though are non-functional. The kitchen and butler’s pantry features the original custom built refrigerator as well as the original butler’s bells. The butler’s area includes original custom cabinetry, non-functional dumb-waiter (serviced 3 floors) and laundry chute. The kitchen pantry has the original cabinetry including the baker’s marble top. The servants’ quarters has the fully restored electrical panel and stairway to the full attic which includes a staircase to the widow’s walk. The attic has relics of the original gravity fed water system that included a cistern to service the water closets. The house is still heated with its many antique water radiators. There are five original fireplaces, though four have been converted to gas. 

© Innkeepers Montrose Inn 2018