By Parks Canada
Did you know?
In real life, this farm was the home of David Jr. and Margaret Macneill, cousins of Montgomery's grandfather. The farm was first settled in 1831 by David Macneill Sr. Although L.M. Montgomery never lived here, nearby with her grandparents and knew it well.
The house and its surrounding landscape inspired the setting of Montgomery's story, in which Anne, an 11-year-old orphan, is sent to live with two middle-aged siblings, Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert, after they requested a boy to help with work on their farm.
The original farmhouse has been carefully restored and decorated to reflect the details included in Montgomery’s novel and the period in which it was set, right down to the furnishings in the rooms.
The experience at Green Gables Heritage Place
This heritage site is operated by Parks Canada. Visitors can tour the house, experience interactive exhibits at the visitor centre, wander the grounds and trails where Montgomery once roamed and take in programming with Anne and other characters.
Step inside Green Gables
Walk through the house and immerse yourself in the world of the novel and the rural lifestyle of the late Victorian era through the exploration of its rooms, furnishings and associated stories.
This is the parlour. Reserved for receiving important guests like the minister when he came for tea, the parlour is furnished in a more formal style than most of the house. This was not a room for Anne to use for entertaining!
Horsehair furniture, Green Gables Heritage Place (1800/1900) by Parks CanadaParks Canada
Horsehair fabric, like that on this settee, was commonly used to cover Victorian furniture because it was durable and inexpensive. Anne wanted to have tea with Diana in the Parlour, but Marilla declared “the sitting room will do” for the girls that afternoon.
Bedtime prayers, Green Gables Heritage Place (1800/1900) by Parks CanadaParks Canada
Hanging prints of children praying, like this one from the Family Herald and Weekly Star (Montreal, Canada), was common in the 1800s. Anne’s first night at Green Gables, she makes up her first prayer, ending it with “yours respectfully” and not “Amen”, much to Marilla’s surprise.
Pump organ, Green Gables Heritage Place (1800/1900) by Parks CanadaParks Canada
Pump organs were common in smaller churches and private homes in the late 1800s. Families usually kept them in the “Parlour”. Montgomery played the pump organ at the Cavendish Presbyterian Church where she met her future husband, the Reverend Ewen Macdonald.
The dining room
The dining room was used for serving special guests. It had decorative furnishings, including the formal dinner table and best china. This is where Anne would have entertained Diana for the tea that had such disastrous results!
Cheese dish, Green Gables Heritage Place (1800/1900) by Parks CanadaParks Canada
In the 1800s, angled ceramic cheese dishes or cheese bells were one of the most common ways to keep the cheese from spoiling until the introduction of the home refrigerator in 1913. Perhaps Mrs. Lynde kept her prized cheese in a cheese bell when not taking it to the exhibition!
Concertina, Green Gables Heritage Place (1800/1900) by Parks CanadaParks Canada
The concertina was a popular musical instrument in the mid 1800s. While similar to an accordion, it is hexagon-shaped rather than rectangular, smaller in size and plays notes using buttons instead of a keyboard.
While her aunt covered the cost of Diana’s music lessons, it was unlikely they were for instruction on the concertina since Old Miss Barry fancied singing concerts at the Academy of Music.
Stereoscope viewer, Green Gables Heritage Place (1800/1900) by Parks CanadaParks Canada
Invented in the early 1830s, the stereoscope was the world’s first 3D viewing system. This device brought images to life by presenting slightly different views of the same scene to the right eye and left eye at the same time. It was very popular with both adults and children!
This was Matthew’s room. Matthew had a heart condition that made climbing the stairs difficult so the main level bedroom was used by him. Kitchen bedrooms were not uncommon. Close to the warm wood stove, the sick or even for expectant mothers.
Matthew's walking cane, Green Gables Heritage Place (1800/1900) by Parks CanadaParks Canada
Matthew's walking cane
Hardworking Matthew may have used a “walking stick” like this simple cane for support from time to time. Once a fashion accessory, the walking stick evolved from being a symbol of stature into a standard walking aid for the elderly, injured or infirm for help in getting around.
Matthew's Sunday best, Green Gables Heritage Place (1800/1900) by Parks CanadaParks Canada
Matthew's Sunday best
In the 1800s, people of modest means had very few clothes. Most had a “Sunday Best” dress or suit, clothing for work or chores and sleepwear. Matthew wore his “white collar” on special occasions such as when he met Anne at the train station or when the minister came to call.
As it still is today, the kitchen was the hub of the Victorian home. The wood stove located there provided heat and hot water for chores, cooking, baking and bathing. The family ate most of their meals in the kitchen and the most common workspaces were here or very nearby.
Cooking stove, Green Gables Heritage Place (1800/1900) by Parks CanadaParks Canada
Marilla’s “old-fashioned Waterloo stove” was rather luxurious for the late 1800s. This New Waterloo No. 2 was manufactured in Sackville, New Brunswick. Wood burned in the bottom compartment heated the cooking surfaces and baking oven (top) and provided heat for the home.
Fainting couch, Green Gables Heritage Place (1800/1900) by Parks CanadaParks Canada
During the mid-1800s, the fainting couch or daybed became popular. One theory is that this curvier sofa evolved because tightly-corseted ladies would collapse onto them to catch their breath. Couches in kitchens were good places for anyone ill and very tempting spots for naps!
Wood box, Green Gables Heritage Place (1800/1900) by Parks CanadaParks Canada
The woodbox stored wood to fuel the stove. Since wood stoves in Victorian houses needed to be kept going all the time (even in summer), having some wood stored conveniently indoors made the job a bit easier. Families refilled their woodboxes from a woodpile outside or a woodshed.
The dairy porch
One of two working rooms located off the kitchen, the dairy porch was used for messy chores like the making of butter or cheese, doing laundry and washing dishes. This is where Anne would have helped Marilla with indoor chores.
Butter churn, Green Gables Heritage Place (1800/1900) by Parks CanadaParks Canada
A butter churn is used to make butter from cream. This plunge churn was the most common style but there were also paddle, barrel and even rocking-chair churns! Butter forms when the staff (plunger), inserted into the top of the churn, is moved up and down repeatedly in the cream.
The second working room off the kitchen is the pantry. It was used for storing dry food, clean dishes and cooking utensils. Located close to the wood stove, it was a practical working room that could be used for preparing food and other chores as well.
Mouse trap, Green Gables Heritage Place (1800/1900) by Parks CanadaParks Canada
Multi-mouse traps like these from the 1800s were placed in homes to catch many pests at a time. The pantry is particularly tempting for rodents with all of the sugar, flour, molasses and other baking and cooking supplies.
Pressing irons, Green Gables Heritage Place (1800/1900) by Parks CanadaParks Canada
Ironing was hard work! The "sad irons" were made of solid metal, weighed up to nine pounds and had to be heated over a fire or stovetop. This lighter rod model, known as a goffering iron, was designed for use on collars on dresses and shirts.
Antique floor sweeper, Green Gables Heritage Place (1800/1900) by Parks CanadaParks Canada
Antique floor sweeper
In the 1800s, companies began making more affordable carpets which made them a more common find in regular homes. It is not surprising that carpet sweepers or mechanical brooms also became popular household tools - they made the cleaning of carpets so much easier!
The kitchen was the biggest space on the first floor and the most popular as it was also the warmest. Daily family activities took place in the kitchen, including regular meals and chores. Matthew and Marilla would also host close friends like Rachel Lynde here for tea.
Cherry pitter, Green Gables Heritage Place (1800/1900) by Parks CanadaParks Canada
Many simple kitchen tools were designed and perfected in the late 1800s. Cast iron cherry pitters like this one removed cherry stones without squashing the fruit. They were popular at first but likely didn’t really save that much time when making preserves and pies!
Apple peeler, Green Gables Heritage Place (1800/1900) by Parks CanadaParks Canada
The first apple peelers were patented in the early 1800s. Apple peelers were often used to peel potatoes too since peeling either with a knife was a tedious process. No wonder simple crab-apple preserves like Marilla’s were popular - the peels are left on!
Raspberry cordial, Green Gables Heritage Place (1800/1900) by Parks CanadaParks Canada
Non-alcoholic berry drinks like cordials were common in the 1800s and usually kept for special occasions and guests. Anne was supposed to serve Diana raspberry cordial when she came to tea. Unfortunately, the currant wine she served by mistake was a very different drink!
This is the front entry to the house
As described in the novel, Anne’s room is the “east gable room” at Green Gables where, after she moved in, “the whole character of the room was altered” to be far more cheerful and lively.
Puffed-sleeve dress, Green Gables Heritage Place (1800/1900) by Parks CanadaParks Canada
Anne did all but beg Marilla for a puffed-sleeve dress with no success. Matthew noticed Anne’s dresses were different from the other girls’ and approached Mrs Rachel for her help in making Anne her very own “fashionable” dress for Christmas complete with puffed-sleeves!
Anne’s satchel, Green Gables Heritage Place (1800/1900) by Parks CanadaParks Canada
The carpet bag was invented for practical and necessary use, not style, during the 1800s. Similar to a suitcase of today, it was used as a reliable way of carrying one’s things. In Anne’s case, even if it was shabby and old-fashioned, her carpet bag held “all her worldly goods”.
Slate, Green Gables Heritage Place (1800/1900) by Parks CanadaParks Canada
In the 1800s, children used mini chalkboards made of slate to practice writing because paper was too expensive. One day at school, Gilbert teased Anne, calling her “Carrots!”. Enraged, she reacted by hitting him over the head with her slate, breaking it. Isn’t it funny that she saved it?
Wallpaper in Anne's room, Green Gables Heritage Place (1800/1900) by Parks CanadaParks Canada
Anne’s love of apple blossoms was apparent from her first drive down the “White Way of Delight”. When she first arrived at Green Gables, the walls of the east gable room were bare so she imagined them “hung with gold and silver brocade tapestry.” Later, she covered them with a “dainty apple-blossom paper”.
Marilla’s room is as prim and proper as she was, with her modest possessions and sensible decor. She was very satisfied with the basics and believed that “bedrooms were made to sleep in” and not for clutter.
Marilla’s shawl, Green Gables Heritage Place (1800/1900) by Parks CanadaParks Canada
While shawls served in keeping warm, they were also quite fashionable and perfect for when the temperature was warm but wearing a coat was too much. Marilla wore dressier shawls to church and afternoon meetings of the Ladies’ Aid Society, and basic ones were worn at home.
Marilla’s glasses, Green Gables Heritage Place (1800/1900) by Parks CanadaParks Canada
Marilla often mentioned having tired eyes and headaches. A specialist examined her and told her to quit work that strained them. She was also to be careful not to cry and should wear special glasses to ease her headaches and prevent possible blindness.
Marilla’s brooch, Green Gables Heritage Place (1800/1900) by Parks CanadaParks Canada
Marilla’s most treasured possession was her amethyst brooch. When it went missing, she insisted Anne had misplaced it. In an effort to get to the Sunday School picnic, Anne made up a lie about losing it in the Lake of Shining Waters. In the end, it was found on Marilla’s shawl.
Marilla’s hairpins, Green Gables Heritage Place (1800/1900) by Parks CanadaParks Canada
While hairpins were fashionable, Marilla used more practical wire pins to hold her dark hair (with grey streaks) in place. She wore it “twisted up in a hard little knot”. Women sometimes had different hairpins for different occasions.
The guest room
The guest or spare room was decorated to please special guests and “out of the question for such a stray waif” as Anne upon arrival. Anne was later honoured with a “very sparest spare-room bed to sleep” during a visit to Diana’s great aunt Josephine Barry’s home in Charlottetown.
Spool bed, Green Gables Heritage Place (1800/1900) by Parks CanadaParks Canada
Victorian-era spool-turned furniture was commonly made in the late 1800s and is still popular style today. Families often made sure the spare room beds were comfortable and pretty but not too comfortable that guests overstayed their welcome.
Chamber pot, Green Gables Heritage Place (1800/1900) by Lucy Maud MontgomeryParks Canada
Before indoor plumbing, chamber pots were often kept under the bed or in a nightstand commode as an alternative to a cold nighttime walk to the outhouse. Flush toilets started to appear in the 1800s but chamber pots remained common until the mid-1900s.
Passageway to the sewing room
The sewing room
The sewing room was used to sew clothing and other household items. Some of the basic mending or patchwork that Anne had to do may have been done elsewhere, such as in the kitchen where it was warmer.
Cotton dress, Green Gables Heritage Place (1800/1900) by Parks CanadaParks Canada
Anne arrived at Green Gables “garbed in a very short, very tight, very ugly dress of yellowish-gray wincey.” Marilla provided three new “good, sensible, serviceable dresses” - including one that was “a stiff print of an ugly blue shade” - none of which Anne found to be “pretty".
Treadle sewing machine, Green Gables Heritage Place (1800/1900) by Parks CanadaParks Canada
Treadle sewing machine
A treadle sewing machine is powered by the user's foot which pushes the treadle up and down. Sewing machines were often placed by large windows to make use of natural light. Women made most of their family’s clothing at home.
Umbrella rack, Green Gables Heritage Place (1800/1900) by Parks CanadaParks Canada
Umbrella yarn swift
This umbrella swift design has been around since the 1600s and is used to hold a skein of yarn or wool to wind it into a ball. It was named because of its appearance resembling the ribs of an umbrella. No need to have someone with outstretched hands when you have this tool!
The hired boy`s room
This room represents where the hired boy would have slept. After the Cuthberts decided to keep Anne, they still needed someone to help Matthew with the farm work. Although just a simple room, it was certainly better than sleeping in the barn!
Rope bed, Green Gables Heritage Place (1800/1900) by Parks CanadaParks Canada
Rope beds create support by criss-crossing under hay and straw mattresses, and need to be pulled taut nightly for comfort, to keep the mattress from sagging to the floor. Straw mattresses also tend to attract bugs, hence the saying "Sleep tight, and don't let the bed bugs bite".
Cheese boxes, Green Gables Heritage Place (1800/1900) by Parks CanadaParks Canada
Cheese became popular in the 1800s, so it’s not surprising that wooden cheese boxes were created about the same time, allowing cheeses to be shipped near and far. While primarily used for transporting cheese, wooden boxes like these were excellent as storage spaces.
Thank you for visiting!
Audio transcript now available.
If you enjoyed your virtual tour, please consider visiting the site in person.
Words or phrases in quotation marks included in the descriptions are taken from Anne of Green Gables. Parks Canada has received permission from the Heirs of L.M. Montgomery Inc. to publish this content on Google Arts and Culture.
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