Only the stone foundation of the MacNeill homestead remains. ((Laura Meader/CBC))

The national historic site at Cavendish was expanded Friday to include the MacNeill homestead where Lucy Maud Montgomery wrote Anne of Green Gables.

The new designation also includes land surrounding the home whereMontgomery lived: Lover's Lane and the Haunted Woods. Senator Don Oliver presided over a formal ceremony in Cavendish.

The MacNeill house is now gone, but the grandson of the MacNeills who raised Montgomery and his wife have developed the site. John and Jenny MacNeill run a small shop selling books and postcards, and give tours.

Montgomery was recognized as a person of historic significance shortly after her death in 1942. She wrote four of her books at the home.

"She said she wrote sitting at her gable window, looking out at the hill fields, and you get a real sense of that down at the site," Jenny MacNeill told CBC News.


Jenny MacNeill will retire this year. ((Laura Meader/CBC))

The homestead also housed the town post office, which MacNeill said allowed Montgomery to intercept any rejection letters from publishers before anyone else could see them.

"The manuscript for Anne of Green Gables was rejected five times," she said.

"Maybe if she had to be going to a neighbour's kitchen to a post office to be picking up rejections in a small community, she might have given up."

The MacNeills will retire this year, and pass the job of caring for the homestead to their son, the latest of a long line of MacNeills to care for this land, a care now recognized as having national historic importance.