Heritage Goldenville Society
Goldenville Presbyterian Church
Goldenville Goldmine Interpretive Centre
Links and documents
1900/01/01 to 1900/12/31
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Heritage Goldenville Society building is located immediately at the streetline on the road to Goldenville, near Nova Scotia's Marine Drive in the Eastern Shore region. It sits on a steep slope and retains many features of its former use as a church, most noticeable of which is the off-centre front tower. Both the building and property are included in the municipal heritage designation.
The Heritage Goldenville Society building, formerly the Goldenville Presbyterian Church, is valued as a landmark in the Goldenvillle area and for its former role as the religious centre for the community.
Canadian hard-rock mining began in Nova Scotia in 1860 on Nova Scotia’s Eastern Shore, beginning in Tangier and moving eastward toward the Sherbrooke Gold District, which included Goldenville. Prior to the discovery of major deposits in the west, the opening of the Tangier mine was briefly the start of one of the largest gold rushes in North America. Over the next few years, mines were opened along a narrow geological belt from Seal Harbour in the east all the way to Molega in Queen’s County on the South Shore. Almost all of these mining operations were on or near the Marine Drive along the Eastern Shore, notably including Seal Harbour, Goldboro, Country Harbour Mines, Wine Harbour, Goldenville, Moose River, and Waverly. For eighty years these mines were at the centre of bustling, prosperous communities. By the 1940s, however, the work in these mines had dwindled to almost nothing and the population had moved on. Most of the communities shrunk to a few families and some disappeared altogether.
The Goldenville Presbyterian Church was built in 1900 to serve the boomtown community of Goldenville at the height of its growth. The building is a very simple representation of the Gothic Revival tradition, with a gable front entrance and a square tower to one side of the front elevation. The tower also serves as narthex (entrance porch) but is unusually elevated due to the steep slope of the land, allowing for a second basement level entrance. Tall Gothic arched windows decorate the front façade, extend along the side of the building and are repeated on the rear vestry as well. The building also displays some Greek Revival aspects include the overall form and symmetry of the structure with a moderately pitched roof, a central decorative round window at the front of the building and the return eaves.
The building fell into disrepair in the 1940s after the mines were shut. In the late 1990s it was acquired by the local heritage society and renovated for use as a museum focusing on the gold mining industry and its role in local history and culture.
Source: Municipality of the District of St. Mary's heritage files, #5 “Heritage Goldenville Society”.
Character-defining elements relating to the Heritage Goldenville Society building include:
- prominent location in the heart of Goldenville;
- large scale, form and massing;
- large, square tower built onto one corner, incorporating the main entrance;
- Gothic Revival elements such as the Gothic arched windows, symmetrically placed on the front and side facades, and double-door entry with arched transom window;
- Greek Revival elements including the balanced form and symmetry of the structure with a low pitched roof, a central decorative round window at the front of the building and the return eaves.
Local Governments (NS)
Heritage Property Act
Municipally Registered Property
Theme - Category and Type
- Building Social and Community Life
- Religious Institutions
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Learning and the Arts
Function - Category and Type
- Religion, Ritual and Funeral
- Religious Facility or Place of Worship
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Municipality of the District of St. Mary's, P.O. Box 296, Sherbrooke, NS, B0J 3C0
Cross-Reference to Collection