Spellman McLaughlin Home

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Spellman McLaughlin Home
Cayman Islands
Location: 19°44’43"N, 79°45’60"W
Built 1930
Owned by: Daniel and Lisa Scott

The Spellman McLaughlin Home is a historic house on Cayman Brac, amongst the Cayman Islands. It is located in Creek, standing on the top of a small hill and beside Creek Road.


Spellman McLaughin, who hailed from East End, Grand Cayman, moved to Cayman Brac with his family at age 16 and married there. In 1926, he began constructing the home to his own design. Constructed of timber imported from Mobile, Alabama and Pensacola, Florida, the planks were cut on-site. Although he had help with the home's construction, McLaughlin oversaw every detail himself and construction would have to be halted when he went off to sea, where he earned his living.

The house is built largely of pine. Full-section log posts were sunk into the ground to support the home above the ground. Very few nails were used in the home's construction and cedar shingles were used as roofing for the home.

The home's roof was constructed with three gable ends at the front of it, giving the impression that the house has two storeys, when it actually has only one.

The house was completed in 1930.


The home has eight exterior rooms built around a central dining room. Each of these rooms has windows and a door to the home's wrap-around verandah. The home's rooms that face northwest and central dining room were designed to be the home's formal rooms and have elaborate ceilings. The home's dining room has diagonal wall paneling and the home's front sitting room has a domed, beaded board ceiling.

The rooms on the south-eastern side of the home, which were considered to be the hottest, did not have ceilings so hot air could rise into the roof space, therefore keeping the room as cool as possible. The kitchen, housed in a separate structure outside the home at the time of construction, was later installed in the southeastern section.

The 1932 storm

During “the great hurricane of 1932”, 130 people sought shelter. The storm in November of that year, caused heavy destruction to Cayman Brac. At Spellman McLaughlin's Home, the windows managed to hold and despite a boulder crashing through the house's front door which allowed water to enter, the storm inflicted no further damage.

The home was amongst the few structures to survive the storm intact and served as a distribution point for scarce emergency supplies sent from Jamaica.

The home nowadays

Today, the wood used to construct the home is still in good condition, despite exposure from the sun, wind and salt. Zinc roofing now covers the roof, although the original cedar roofing lies underneath.

The home received the Award of Distinction for the Preservation of Historic Places in 1995 by the National Trust for the Cayman Islands. This award was presented to Spellman McLaughlin's daughter, Brunzil Rivers, who lived in the home at the time with her family.

As of 2011, Rivers and her family have moved and put the home up for sale.

The house was purchased by Dan and Lisa Scott. They have beautifully restored the home. The zinc roof has been replaced with cedar shingles.