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The McGregor House Bed and Breakfast
A Labor of Love Brings A Brazil Home Back to Life

If you have ever dreamed of fixing up an old home or running a bed and breakfast, you should meet the Sneddons. In just a year and a half, T.J. and Susan Sneddon of Brazil, in Clay County, have rescued an 1885 mansion that had literally been turned into a Haunted House. The McGregor House Bed and Breakfast is a remarkable example of how a home can come back to life with the dedication of a family and the support of a community.

The McGregor House Bed and Breakfast

The Sneddons hadn’t heard that the McGregor House was being sold by the YMCA at auction. But as soon as it was sold, Susan’s father told the couple, “You should have bought that!” It would have been the perfect house for the Sneddons with their four children. It even had an attached gymnasium which had been added by the YMCA.

By a stroke of luck, the man who originally bought it changed his mind and the house was again available. Apparently after the man’s wife heard he’d bought it she spent nights on the couch weeping!

T.J. and Susan took a good look at the house on a Saturday morning in October, 1998, and were shocked at what they saw. Nevertheless, they also saw its potential and put a payment down that afternoon.

The Sneddons knew the history of the McGregor House. The home was built circa 1885 by Judge Daniel McGregor and his wife Bell. When Bell passed away in 1928 she willed the home to the community YMCA. In 1949 the gymnasium with a full basketball court was added.

As the house deteriorated over the years, the YMCA, as a fund raising project, turned the home into a haunted house. The Sneddons knew this when they bought the house.

The Victorian Room before and after renovation

What they found as they looked closer at the house was ghastly. The entire third floor had been painted black - the floors, windows, woodwork, and even the intricately patterned fireplace. There was even an 8 foot fluorescent werewolf painted at the top of the staircase. Holes had been knocked in the walls for people to crawl through during the haunted houses.

The first floor was completely painted bright yellow, even the beautiful oak stairway.

The first floor was completely painted bright yellow, even the beautiful oak stairway

The Sneddons had a vision for the McGregor House, and started right away on this labor of love.

Both Susan and T.J. have full-time jobs, so they worked on the house each evening and on weekends continuously for a full year. They readily acknowledge it couldn’t have been done without the devotion and help of their family and the community.

Susan says, “My mother-in-law almost single-handedly is responsible for getting us to do what we had to do. She’d come over right after we got home from work. We’d be on the couch and T.J. would be dozing in a chair, and she’d say, ‘Okay, I’m twice as old as you are and I’ve been to work and I’m tired too. But get up!’”

“So we’d jump up and away we’d go!” T.J. recalls.

Susan’s parents are antique dealers, and also got involved in the restoration. They helped as the Sneddons went to auctions, giving them ideas on what would work well with the house and what they should pay. “All in all,” Susan says, “our whole family worked here.”

Friends and the community of Brazil also seemed to come together to give their support. One friend stripped all the wallpaper in the house in exchange for just the tranquility he felt relaxing on the big round front porch listening to the church chimes. Others brought meals to them while they worked.

When they went to auctions people knew they were furnishing the McGregor House and wouldn’t bid against them, confiding “We thought it would look wonderful there.”

When an older woman in the neighborhood moved to an apartment, she wanted them to have her Queen Anne bedroom suite that had once been her mother’s. “She loved it so much and she wanted to know it was somewhere that people would take care of it.”

The Fireplace in the McGregor Suite

It is hard to fathom the work that has gone into restoring this mansion to the stately beauty that it is today. The four-story home is full of intricate carvings and the highest craftsmanship. Long days were spent meticulously removing black paint from cherubs carved on a fireplace mantle. All the plumbing, walls and wiring have been replaced. So while the McGregor House is a true beauty in its own right, it is even more remarkable when its “before” stage is considered.

Susan and T.J. Sneddon have good reason to be proud of the McGregor House. They are pleased to have just received the Commercial Renovation of the Year Award from the Preservation Association of Clay County. In 1999, just a year after the renovations began, the McGregor House was featured on the Tri-Kappa Home Tour at Christmas time, where over 1,000 visitors came through the home. T.J. recalls, “What amazed people, and it amazes us too, is that we got it done in a year!” The Sneddons live with their four children on the ground level of the McGregor House, while the top three stories are for guests.

The McGregor House now offers guests a choice of four luxurious sleeping quarters, each with private bath, and a full breakfast in the parlor. Guests can also explore the library, relax in the sitting room or on the big round front porch, or even play basketball or work out in the gymnasium.

After years of enjoying their stays at bed and breakfasts, T.J. and Susan knew just what they felt was needed to make people comfortable. The second and third floors have their own furnace and air conditioner, “So there’s no reason everybody can’t be comfortable!” says T.J.

The two suites are called the McGregor Suite, and the Art Suite. The McGregor Suite, on the second floor, reflects the home’s Scottish heritage in its decor. It features a sitting room with an ornately carved fireplace, curved glass windows, and a plush love seat. There is a queen-size brass bed, and a spacious bathroom with a claw foot tub as well as a shower.

The McGregor Suite

The Arts Suite occupies the entire third floor, and is decorated with Indiana art and works by Indiana authors and musicians. This suite features a birdseye view of the area from both the spacious sitting room and the bedroom. It also has a TV and mini-refrigerator.

The Victorian Room houses the Queen Anne bedroom suite that was previously mentioned. It is decorated in Victorian shades of rose, and captures a romantic feel. The spacious private bath with shower and tub also features original artwork on the walls.

The European Room brings together the Sneddon’s collection of heirlooms from France, Germany, England and other European countries. Here you can read an original London Sun newspaper from 1793, or see Susan’s treasured French doll that was sent to her from her father’s French friends.

The beauty of the McGregor House, the quiet setting of Brazil, and the hospitality of the Sneddons offer visitors a fine place to stay here in Indiana.

For more information or for reservation inquiries call 812-448-8315, email, or visit their web site at

For information about Clay County, Indiana, see our Clay County Page.

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