Description of Historic Place
Building 51, also known as the Base Commander’s Residence, is a large, wooden building located on a spacious treed and landscaped site. The building is comprised of a prominent gable-roofed central block, in the New England Colonial style, flanked by lower side wings, in the Colonial Revival style. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
Building 51 is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
Building 51 is associated with the development of large summer homes in Nova Scotia and with the development of naval training centres in Canada. The early central portion was built as a farm house by Lt. Col. William Hallet Ray, a farmer and long-serving provincial politician. During the 1900s, the Annapolis Valley became a popular summer resort area and the house was first used as a summer residence for the Anglican Bishop of Nova Scotia. It was later incorporated into the summer estate of E.F. Morse, a wealthy businessman. During the Second World War, the estate became the Navy’s main training centre and was greatly expanded. The construction of Her Majesty's Canadian Ship (HMCS) Cornwallis had an immense impact on the development of the Annapolis Basin and the local economy, which has benefited over the years.
Building 51 is a good example of a residential structure that combines the New England Colonial style and the Colonial Revival style. The New England style is evident in the wood construction, the regular placement of bays across the façade, the moderately steep gable roof, the absence of dormers and the spare use of detailing. The Colonial Revival style, one of the most popular domestic styles of the interwar period, is evidenced in the building’s near-symmetrical arrangement with a prominent centre block and lower lateral wings.
Building 51 reinforces the character of its military neighbourhood setting at Canadian Forces Base (CFB) Cornwallis. It is a distinct and familiar building on the base.
Sources: Base Commander’s Residence, Canadian Forces Base Cornwallis, Cornwallis, Nova Scotia, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office Building Report 90-320; Base Commander’s Residence, CFB Cornwallis, Cornwallis, Nova Scotia, Heritage Character Statement, 90-320.
The character-defining elements of Building 51 should be respected.
Its New England Colonial Style and Colonial-Revival style, for example:
- its two-and-a-half storey, near-symmetrical massing, composed of a prominent, gable roofed centre block, flanked by lateral wings;
- its regular rhythm of openings and bays, symmetrical arrangement of openings, multi-pane windows, dormers and chimneys, low foundation line and spareness of detail;
- its wood construction and finishes including narrow wood siding, corner boards, returned eaves and porches with fluted Doric columns;
- its surviving interior layout.
The manner in which Building 51 reinforces the character of its military neighbourhood setting at CFB Cornwallis and is a familiar building in the area, as evidenced by:
- its overall Colonial style and residential appearance which harmonizes with four buildings which pre-date the construction of CFB Cornwallis, such as the Officer’s Mess (former estate mansion), the Coach House, the Morse barn and Commander’s Garage (former barn);
- its large scale and architectural style which distinguish it from most other buildings at CFB Cornwallis and which contribute to its status as a familiar landmark for residents of the base.