Matheson Farm
Kempt Head Road

This was the farmhouse of the Matheson family- the boys apparently used to race horses. It was likely built by the same carpenter, and around the same time, as many of the other houses on the road. The house came to Margaret MacKenzie (called Bammy), who was cared for in her old age by her niece Margaret (MacDonald) MacLean. MacLean would later become the superintendent of nurses at the Glace Bay General Hospital. On March 28, 1931, eighty-year-old Margaret MacKenzie had a medical emergency that required immediate hospital treatment. She could not survive the day-long sleigh ride through the snow drifts to Sydney. Her nephew, Kenny MacDonald, telephoned Don MacPherson, an airplane pilot in Glace Bay, and asked him to fly Margaret MacKenzie to the hospital. No one in Nova Scotia had ever attempted a mercy flight to and from an inaccessible area. MacPherson equipped his plane with skis and circled Boularderie that afternoon, looking for a suitable location for a temporary airfield. He selected a field not far from the house, on what was Danny MacIvor's farm at the time. One resident of the area recalls that school was let out to watch the airplane, the first to land on Boularderie Island. MacKenzie was brought to the plane on a sleigh. While all of her relatives said their goodbyes, MacPherson taxied, took off, and landed a few times to pack down the soft and sticky snow. However, when he tried to take off with Margaret MacKenzie in the front seat of the plane, the added weight made it impossible to clear the trees at the end of the field. On his third try, MacPherson was forced to land the plane among small spruce trees, slightly tearing one of its silk wings. The pilot decided to fly back to Glace Bay to fix the wing, and return the next morning when the snow would be crusted from over-night freezing. MacKenzie was taken back to the house for the night, and successfully flown to Sydney the following day. The plane landed on the harbour, and was met by Kenny MacDonald, who transported his aunt to the Glace Bay General Hospital. Don MacPherson made two trips back to Boularderie that day: one to bring Margaret MacLean to her aunt, and another for the luggage of both women. Although Margaret MacKenzie underwent apparently successful surgery immediately, she died three days later. MacKenzie is said to have willed the house to Margaret MacLean, who likely sold it to Jim Trenholm in 1962.

Architectural Comment

This is an asymmetrical farmhouse with a side gable and front ell, built in a vernacular style.

Contextual Comment

This farmhouse was the residence of Margaret MacKenzie, the cause of the first flight to Boularderie. Don MacPherson, of Glace Bay, landed his small plane on Boularderie Island in March of 1931 to fly Mrs. MacKenzie to the Glace Bay General Hospital for surgery.

  • Top
  • Click on Thumbnail to enlarge Image
  • Try Again