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Mackey House

1137 Ketch Harbour Road, Ketch Harbour, Nova Scotia, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1999/04/06

Side elevation and entrance, Mackey House, Ketch Harbour, NS, 2007.; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2007
Side Entrance
Front elevation, Mackey House, Ketch Harbour, Nova Sotia, 2007.; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2007
Front Elevation
Side elevation, including rear ell, Mackey House, Ketch Harbour, NS, 2007.; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2007
Side Elevation

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2010/01/29

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Mackey House is located on a slight rise facing the ocean on Ketch Harbour Road, in Ketch Harbour, Nova Scotia. This small, one-and-a-half storey, wooden house was built circa 1835. The building and property are included in the provincial designation.

Heritage Value

The Mackey House is valued as an early nineteenth-century, vernacular coastal home and for its association with author Kathleen Hill.

The house was likely built in the 1830s and was part of a larger property purchased by Emanuel Mackey in 1840. With the house and land he also purchased a water lot, presumably enabling him to build a wharf for his own use. In 1847 he purchased eight nets and four boats from his father-in-law and operated a small fishing fleet from his wharf. The property remained in the Mackey family until 1969.

In 1969 author Kathleen Hill purchased the property. Born in Halifax in 1917, Hill is the author of several books including a book on Joseph Howe and a collection of the legends of the Wabanaki. Hill also authored several radio productions, a stage play, and television plays. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, much of Hill's literary work was undertaken in this house. In 1969 she was awarded the Canadian Literary Association’s Book of the Year for children’s literature.

The Mackey House is a simple, one-and-a-half storey wood-frame structure with a gable roof and wood shingle cladding. The house sits on a stone foundation and has a rear kitchen ell. It is an excellent example of the vernacular homes that were once common along Nova Scotia’s coastline.

Source: Provincial Heritage Program property files, no. 236

Character-Defining Elements

Character-defining elements of Mackey House include:

- one-and-a-half storey, wood frame construction;
- gable roof;
- wood shingle cladding;
- six-over-six windows;
- stone foundation;
- rear kitchen ell;
- close proximity and access to the Atlantic Ocean.



Nova Scotia

Recognition Authority

Province of Nova Scotia

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act

Recognition Type

Provincially Registered Property

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Learning and the Arts
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design
Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation

Function - Category and Type



Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Provincial Heritage Program property files, no. 236, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, NS.

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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