Thursday, November 12, 2009

Documenting the Derelict

As I make my way through the back roads of Annapolis County, I occasionally see a derelict house or two. Often, as in the case of the house featured in this post, I do not know the history of the house. At the O'Dell House Museum we do have the resources to find out the history but, sometimes this takes away from the romance of the property. The house will usually be sitting in a somewhat overgrown field. Weathered siding and broken windows are the hallmarks of this sort of building. Often, I feel a compulsion to hop out of the car and take some pictures. This is partially my desire to document the heritage of our community and partially because there is something charming about these forgotten places. These houses once kept families warm and safe. They witnessed all of the joy and sorrow of the human experience. It seems that the least that I can do is take a few pictures. As this blog moves forward I will try to share some of these images.

The house in today's post in located on the Bayshore near the border of Hillsburn and Delap's Cove (about 15 minutes from downtown Annapolis Royal). I have noticed this house many times but, about a month ago, I decided that I should get some pictures. The first thing I noticed about this house was how wonderfully it was sited on its property. The house sits at the crest of a hill with the North Mountain rising behind it. After parking on the Shore Road, I walked up the long gravel driveway. I quickly realized that, in its time, this would have been a beautiful property. While simple in style, there was a level of decoration which easily distinguishes this house from many of its contemporaries. The front entry is an excellent example of the details used on this house. The door features two vertical diamond style panels above a horizontal diamond panel. This is surrounded with sidelights and a toplight. The effect of the doors and windows make this a very pretty entryways. All of this is topped with a gable dormer featuring a wonderful Gothic arch window. The remainder of the windows are topped with a very attractive entablature. One last admirable feature are the end boards which have a carved design which I believe was once painted yellow. This adds a very graceful touch to the property. A window and an example of the end boards can be seen in some of the images in this post.

While I do not know the date of construction, the house shows transitional elements between the Neo-Classical and Gothic Revival styles. Using this as a guide, I would assume that it was probably built between 1800 and 1820. I suppose that it would be a bit simple minded to say that many of the original features are intact. From the looks of the house there has not really been a big push to renovate. For my purposes, this is a good thing. The house is an excellent example of the sort of building which would have been built in this part of Nova Scotia at the turn of the nineteenth century.

All for now,

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