Wallace and Area Museum
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Davison-Kennedy House, built circa 1839, is a large, two-storey, wooden building on Highway 6 on the outskirts of Wallace, Nova Scotia. The house is set slightly back from the edge of the main road on a property dotted with many mature trees and bushes. The building serves as the Wallace and Area Museum, and even though there is a parking area on the west side and additions have been attached to the back of the building to expand the Museum, it is clear the main building was once a large, comfortable home. The municipal designation includes the historic portion of the building and the property.
The value of the Davison-Kennedy House lies in its being a good example of a home built in the Maritime Vernacular style that is decorated with a few interesting details. Value is also found in its association with the Davison family, which played an important role in the economic development of Wallace and the surrounding area.
The Davison-Kennedy House was the home of James B. Davison, who arrived in Wallace from Pictou in 1839, built this home and established a prominent ship yard and general store that he owned and operated from 1840 to 1865. Increased immigration and international trade made this an important period in Nova Scotia’s shipbuilding history. Wallace’s industries had been fishing, farming and quarrying; however during this era, Wallace had a dozen ship yards which contributed to the economic expansion of the area. Remnants of Davison’s shipyard are visible in Wallace Bay at low tide.
The Davison-Kennedy House was built in the Maritime Vernacular style, a style common in mid-nineteenth century Nova Scotia. These buildings were generally plain structures with simple lines and little or no ornamentation, but this house has been decorated with a few details that give it character. The main section of this house has the Vernacular’s typically boxy, symmetrical shape and balanced, three-bay façade. Added to the front is a slightly off-center frontispiece rising the full height of the house creating a cross-gable dormer with a second-storey window. The bottom of the frontispiece has a door on both the east and west sides giving access to the small front porch. The view of the house from the front belies its actual size for there is a large addition on the back giving the house an L-shape. The main front section of the house is accented with a wide frieze and strong, broad pilasters used as corner boards, while the same decorations on the frontispiece and back section are narrower and less defining.
Source: “Heritage Property County, Davison-Kennedy House” File, Cumberland County Museum
Character-defining elements of the Davison-Kennedy House include:
- original site, form and massing;
- wood construction;
- wooden clapboard siding;
- off-centre frontispiece on non-gable side;
- porch with each and west door in frontispiece;
- large back addition creating L-shape;
- all Classical Revival elements including return eave, prominent frieze and corner boards on front section, modest frieze and corner boards on frontispiece and back section, and square hooded transom over west front door.
Character-defining Maritime Vernacular elements of the Davison-Kennedy House include:
- boxy shape of main house;
- medium-pitch roof;
- three-bay façade.
Local Governments (NS)
Heritage Property Act
Municipally Registered Property
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Trade and Commerce
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
Function - Category and Type
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
"Heritage Property County, Davision-Kennedy House" File, Cumberland County Museum and Archives, 150 Church St, Amherst, NS B4H 3C4
Cross-Reference to Collection