Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Robertson-McNamara House at 154 St George Street, Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia is a two-and-one-half storey structure built circa 1785 in the Neo-classical style. It has a gable roof and is clad in wood shingles. The Robertson-McNamara House is located close to the street on a narrow lot in an area of designated heritage buildings, facing the waterfront. The municipal designation includes the house and the property.
The Robertson-McNamara House, as recognized by its heritage designation, is valued for its age and history. The land on which the home is located is part of that granted to James Horlock, who was a carpenter with the Board of Ordnance at Fort Anne. It was included in the parcel of land that newly arrived Loyalist Frederick Davoue purchased in 1784 and subsequently divided into several lots. Davoue sold the lot in 1787 to Scotsman William Robertson "on which said William Robertson's dwelling stands." Robertson built the house in the year or two before his purchase of the land, suggesting its existence prior to the agreement to purchase. A native of County Perth, he was a colonel in the local militia, the agent for Indian affairs in Annapolis County and served in the provincial house of assembly from 1808 to 1811. Robertson had constructed wharves and storehouses, now gone, on the waterfront across the street from the house.
Members of the Robertson family owned the property until 1846 when it was sold to James McNamara, a blacksmith and saddle maker. The McNamara family owned the house until 1906. For nearly a decade in the early part of the twentieth century, the Robertson-McNamara House was owned by local lumber baron Frank Barnjum. In the 1970s and 1980s the house was operated as a museum by the Historic Restoration Society (Annapolis Heritage Society). The house has since returned to private ownership and an extensive restoration in 1996 has preserved much of its character.
The Robertson-McNamara House was built during the Loyalist migrations to Annapolis Royal at the end of the American Revolution. The house was originally built in the Neo-classical style, with a central entrance and symmetrical facade. However, the building has been substantially altered due to a fire in the early twentieth century. At the time of the fire, the western third of the building was damaged and removed. The house originally had a double front door located centrally in a porch. The entrance is now a single door located on the side of the building and the original door location is now used as a window. Due to the fire, one first-storey and two second-storey windows were lost from the facade.
The Robertson-McNamara House is a two-and-one-half storey wood framed building with a one-and-one-half storey ell. The house maintains some of the symmetry of its earlier design with paired windows on each floor facing the street. The windows themselves are double hung six-over-six wooden sash windows. The building has a distinctive high gable roof with close eaves and verges. The house has a full basement with a rubble foundation. Wooden clapboard with wooden end boards has been used as siding.
Source: Town of Annapolis Royal municipal heritage files, Annapolis Heritage Society, 136 St. George Street, Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia
Character defining elements of the Robertson-McNamara House include:
- wood frame construction;
- one-and-one-half storey ell;
- high gable roof with close eaves and verges;
- paired windows on each floor facing the street;
- double hung six-over-six wooden sash windows;
- full basement with a rubble foundation;
- clad in wooden clapboard with wooden end boards;
Local Governments (NS)
Heritage Property Act
Municipally Registered Property
1996/01/01 to 1996/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Peopling the Land
Function - Category and Type
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Annapolis Heritage Society, 136 St George Street, Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia
Cross-Reference to Collection