Stannum House was built in 1888 by John Holmes Reid. It is the foremost architecturally and historically significant building in the district. It was designed by Italian architects in the latest and grandest style of the era. It is built on a foundation excavated down to granite bedrock then set on granite blocks to give maximum stability. The house became the centre of Tenterfield society and was the family home to 12 children who were cared for by 14 domestic staff.
Stannum is Latin for tin, the mining of which funded the huge construction cost of this grand 19th century mansion built on the highest point in Tenterfield. It is an outstanding example of Victorian era grandeur and served as the Reid family home for more than 50 years.
The house is described as the perfect time capsule. It is a 3 storey triple brick and stucco building with front bay windows and cast iron veranda and balcony decoration. The four panel front door has side and fan lights and the splendid vestibule has an archway supported by Corinthian columns.
Off the vestibule are 3 beautifully restored rooms which present magnificent antiques and curios, some of which were owned by the Reid family.
Upstairs are exquisite hand engraved and patterned glass windows with a Juliet balcony leading off the front bedroom. The interior has superb red cedar throughout including a unique cedar spiral staircase, and 10 Italian marble fireplaces. Local stonemasons cut the granite steps.
During WW2, the house was commandeered by the Army for use as a hospital and command base. It was returned to the family after the war.
In 1954 the Reid family sold to a Greek fruiterer who turned the building into a boarding house and removed the roof tower. When he built a new motel next door, the two front rooms were used as a restaurant and bar and the remainder of the building closed off.
The house was purchased by Kirk Jensen and Peter Gelhaar in August, 1997. The house was very bland, with the original artwork painted out, shag-pile carpets and lino on the floors, and 1970s retro wall paper and colour scheme. Kirk, an expert in Victorian era restoration, set about the enormous task of returning the house to its former glory. He has excelled in its restoration.
The great, great grandson of John Holmes Reid, Peter Maxwell Reid, along with the last surviving relative born at Stannum House, John Reid Mackie opened the fully restored building on 2nd June, 2003.