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Over 100 years ago, Keppoch Beach was heart of Charlottetown's wealthy summer home community. Back in the early 1900's the City elite chose Keppoch for the same reasons as today - proximity to the City, beautiful views and one of the best warm water beaches on the Island. Even now it is very difficult acquire land in the Keppoch Beach area as most properties are passed down through families and ownership often dates back for generations. While beaches on the Island are open to the public, access to Keppoch Beach is closely restricted to owners and guests and trespassers have been prosecuted. Both East and West Keppoch have long standing resident organizations closely guarding their mutual interests.

Overlooking Keppoch Beach, 251 Sundance Lane is located on Lobster Point, a part of the original Keppoch Farm, established in 1804 by Major Alexander MacDonald and named after Keppoch in Scotland. In 1854 the property passed to Dr. Henry Hillcoat and four years later Hillcoat exchanged the property with Charles Welsh for a sailing vessel built at Vernon River. Unfortunately for Hillcoat, one of his sons fell overboard on their voyage to England and Dr.Hillcoat drowned while attempting to rescue him.

The property later went to Charles Welsh's daughter Hetty and her husband Robert Barker. About 1873, Mrs. Barker sold the property to her brother William Welsh, who conducted a shipbuilding and mercantile business in Charlottetown with his brother-in-law, L.C. Owen, under the name of Welsh and Owen. In 1905, on William Welsh's death, the property went to his nephew William Owen.

During the early 1900's Prince Edward Islanders controlled and dominated the world's fox fur industry with Islanders owning fox ranches throughout the globe. In 1912-13 two world renown ranches were set up in the proximity of the property. This was during the period that one of the Dalton & Oulton ranches sold just 25 pelts for a mind boggling $35,000 - nearly $1,000,000 in today&rsquo s dollars ! Inevitably the industry collapsed during the depression and many of the foxes were simply released into the woods explaining why so many foxes still roam the area. In clearing 251 Sundance Lane, numerous remnants of fox cages had to be removed.

In 1922, William Owen sold Keppoch Farm to W.H.V. Dunbar who turned the original farmhouse into a summer resort and added a number cottages. On the death of Mr. Dunbar in 1947, the property was sold to Roland Paton, Frank MacPhee and WWII Spitfire ace, Charles Trainor, operating under the name of Keppoch Beach Hotels Ltd. In 1966 they subdivided a portion of Lobster Point into five cottage lots and once the Resort ceased operation in 1965, some of the cottages were relocated to the Point.

In 1987 the Wood's Poultry Farm property in Kinlock was purchased by Donald A. Smith who developed the property into the upscale subdivision known as Sundance Cove. Since it adjoined the Keppoch Beach Hotels Ltd property, the company owners seized this opportunity to develop the landlocked Lobster Point area. Fourteen upscale housing lots were created in 1991 with the shore lots selling off almost immediately. The portion of the property now known as 251 Sundance Lane began as one of the original 1966 cottage properties and was acquired by the present owner about ten years later. During the construction of the subdivision, the property was expanded to its present size and received government approval as a residential lot. The fact that 251 (Lot 14) contains one of the original cottage lots is the reason why it is the only property in the residential subdivisions that has a legal right-of-way to the beach written into the deed.

It should also be noted that just a few hundred yards from the property, down shore to the West, there stands a grove of trees. Nestled among these poplars lies Redcliff, the home of the renown Admiral Bayfield. Redcliff is listed on the Canadian Registry of Historic Places for both its architecture and its owners. Bayfield left his mark all over the world and was recognized by the U.S. Navy who not only named a ship after him but a whole class of warships as well. In fact the USS Bayfield was involved in the invasion of Normandy, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, atomic testing, and the Vietnam War. More can be seen about this fascinating gentleman and his home at the following sites.
Link to Historic Places - Redcliff
Link to US Navy Archives on Bayfield


However Bayfield was not the only famous resident of this home. The noted American psychologist, author, teacher, playwright and actor, Julian Jaynes lived at the home in Keppoch for many years. Jaynes died here in 1997 leaving this historic home to the Province. More can be found on Jaynes at the Julian Jaynes Society or on his page in Wikipedia

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© Eric Bentley 2010.