Description of Historic Place
Hanna House, built circa 1793, is a large, elegant, one-and-a-half storey home sitting on the main rural road in the Lakelands area near Parrsboro, Nova Scotia. The house sits at the end of a long driveway well back from the road in a large, open, flat field. The area immediately around the home is beautifully landscaped with gardens, bushes and trees. Behind the home are several larger and smaller barns and outbuildings suited to farming. The municipal designation includes only the house and property.
Hanna House is valued for being a unique example of a Maritime Vernacular style home with elaborate decorative elements from other styles. Value is also found in its association with the prosperous history of this rural farming district.
Maritime Vernacular homes were typically plain, practical structures with simple lines and little or no ornamentation. Although slightly-decorated Maritime Vernacular homes are fairly common in Cumberland County, Hanna House is exceptional because of its distinctive front and the ornate design elements used to decorate the building. The original portion of the house is thought to have been built in 1793; however, overtime, modifications have transformed a basic Vernacular structure into an elegant home. The Maritime Vernacular style of the house is evident in its symmetrical appearance, centered entry, and the balanced placement of the windows. Influences from other styles are evident in the frontispiece with an accentuated entry rising the full height of the house and creating a central cross gable with a large dormer and a second storey box bay window. The striking façade is balanced with a box bay on each side of the entry, and brackets decorate the eaves of all the bays.
Hanna House is thought to be one of the oldest homes in the area, and its size and elegance reflect the success and prosperity of this farming community in the nineteenth century, and, in particular, that of the house’s first owner, Loyalist settler and farmer Daniel Holmes Sr. The Holmes and Hanna families have long histories in Lakelands, and both families played roles in the economic development of the area of Cumberland County. Besides an involvment in farming, the Hannas were also involved in the maple industry, and operated a grist and a lumber mill.
Source: “Heritage Properties County, Hanna House” File, Cumberland County Museum
Character-defining elements of Hanna House include:
- original site, form and massing;
- clapboard siding;
- low-pitched roof;
- large back addition creating L-shape floor plan;
- long verandah on the south side of the house, its eave decorated with brackets;
- two-storey frontispiece;
- all Gothic Revival elements including protruding hoods over south windows, and large central front dormer creating a cross gable roof;
- all Italianate elements including three box bay windows, entry in the front central box bay, and ornate brackets decorating eaves of the all bays.
Character-defining Maritime Vernacular elements of Hanna House include:
- typical box-like shape with symmetrical three-bay façade;
- central entrance;
- symmetric placement of windows.
Character-defining Classic Revival elements of Hanna House include:
- return eave;
- pedimented gable in front dormer;
- wide frieze and prominent pilasters as corner boards;
- double door front entry framed with pilasters.