10. Mains House Care Home
This building was originally the shooting lodge for the Banchor estate. By 1888 a new lodge had been built (now the Lodge Hotel) and Sam Macdonald, who ran an inn in the building next door (see Craigellachie House) transferred his growing business here.
In 1889 he converted the building into a hotel to meet the needs of the rapidly developing tourist trade in the village: “Mr Macdonald has spared no expense on the work of renovation, and the result is a building admirably adapted for hotel purposes, there being nothing equal to it for size in Badenoch.”
Such was the growth in visitor numbers in the village that in 1893 a further five bedrooms, a drawing room and coffee room were added behind the original building. In 1898 a further extension included stables and in 1903 the hotel was enlarged again, “to make adequate provision for the ever-increasing number of tourists who annually include Newtonmore in their holiday tour.”
Sam Macdonald was also an enthusiastic patron of the Newtonmore shinty team, as was his son Sam, who took over the Hotel after his parents died. Sam junior was a noted shinty player, but he died in the First World War.
The hotel was originally known simply as “The Hotel, Newtonmore”. The name later changed to the “Newtonmore Hotel”. It was on the coach route from Kingussie to Tulloch Station on the Fort William road. The last stagecoach in Britain ran on this route until 1914 when a motor charabanc took over. For many years the driver of the stagecoach was James Gillies, whose family ran the shop in Laggan. To fend off any attacks, he carried a pistol which is now in the Macpherson Museum.
By the 1920s the hotel was owned by the Main family, who also owned the Alvie and Lodge hotels. Mains Hotel was always busy in summer and frequently had Rolls Royces parked outside. The hotel closed in 2001 and was converted into a care home.
Ordnance Survey name books
M.G. Lay (1992) Ways of the World: A History of the World’s Roads and of the Vehicles that Used Them