Description of Historic Place
The Lewis P. Churchill House is a one-and-one-half storey wood frame building constructed in 1848. It is located high on a hill on Crest Street, overlooking Lockeport Harbour in the Town of Lockeport, Nova Scotia. Municipal heritage designation applies to the building and the residential lot it occupies.
The heritage value of the Lewis P. Churchill House lies in its associations with Lewis P. Churchill, its original owner, and his heirs, and in its being the only dwelling remaining that was the homestead of a direct male descendant of Josiah Churchill. Also valued is its history as an early stagecoach inn and later as a hotel. Its Gothic Revival architecture, which has had some modifications over the years, is also considered a significant element of its heritage value.
Lewis P. Churchill was a prominent shipping merchant in Lockeport and a great-grandson of Josiah Churchill, one of the original two settlers of the community. He had this house built circa 1848, which was probably the time of his marriage, and his ten children were all born here between 1852 and 1871. According to local tradition, Lewis Churchill ran a stagecoach inn here for a number of years. The building attached to the southeast side of the house is said to have been a sample room with a loft above where the stagecoach drivers slept. Apparently some of them left their “autographs” on the ceiling above their beds, where they remain.
Within a few months after Lewis Churchill’s death in 1899, his widow Anne (Locke) Churchill also passed away, leaving the property to their four sons: Henry, Frank, Enos and John. The 1901 Census of Nova Scotia lists Frank Churchill, a clerk, in residence at this property with his wife and three children. Two years later, in 1903, Frank Churchill deeded the property to his youngest brother, John, a doctor, whose wife is said to have opened a hotel here the following year. Their residence in this house continued until 1910, after which the Churchill name disappeared from census records in Lockeport.
From 1904 until 1960 this was known as the Hillcrest Hotel and had several owners. John Churchill sold the property in 1910 to James Ruggles, who was a Collector of Customs, and who sold it again in 1913. Between 1913 and 1928 the property changed hands three more times before it was purchased by Harry Doleman, who remained here as hotel keeper until 1960, after which it once again became a private dwelling.
The Gothic Revival architecture of the Lewis P. Churchill House is typified by its one-and-one-half storey wood frame construction, the symmetrical façade and the front cross gable. At some point the front gable was widened and a full height projecting frontispiece built on. An enclosed one-storey entry porch was also added at a later date.
Source: Municipal Heritage Property files, “The Lewis P. Churchill House”, located at the Town of Lockeport municipal office.
The character-defining elements of the Lewis P. Churchill House include:
- location on top of a hill overlooking Lockeport Harbour;
- large residential lot;
- proximity to three other registered heritage properties.
The character-defining elements of the Gothic Revival architecture of the Lewis P. Churchill House include:
- one-and-one-half storey wood frame construction with wood cladding and trim;
- medium pitched gable roof with return eaves and a wide, projecting frontispiece;
- symmetrical three-bay façade;
- lower, centred one-and-one-half storey back ell.