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John McKay, an early Genesee Valley mill owner, was prosperous enough by 1814 to build a large, two-story, brick-lined house that now stands on the square in Genesee Country Village in Mumford.

The John McKay House brought a touch of architectural sophistication to what was still a rough-and-ready frontier area. Its Federal design was based on the English refinements of the classical elements of the Georgian style.

As a result, the front of the house is its gabled, or short, side. Its formal three-bay facade is framed by four pilasters, linked by arches and crowned by a full pediment. The narrowness of the house allowed only a single room in the front, with the entrance at one side, a design subsequently used in many Greek Revival houses.

McKay had intended to complement his fine home with a full-height portico across the front, but the War of 1812 spoiled his plans. He had ordered four columns from Kingston, Ont., but because of the hostilities, they could not be shipped across Lake Ontario.

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