Description of Historic Place
The Alexander Kedy House is located on Edgewater Street in Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia. Located at the head of Mahone Bay, this two-and-a-half storey New England Colonial style house was built around 1799. The building and property are included in the provincial designation.
The Alexander Kedy House is valued because it was built by and was the residence of the prominent Kedy Family for 146 years. It is also valued for its architecture as it is a very early example of a house built with a Georgian floor plan within a two-storey New England Colonial timber frame.
The Mahone Bay settlement was initiated by Captain Ephraim Cook in 1754, under the authority of Governor Charles Lawrence and his Council who provided a small measure of military protection against Indian attacks. In 1777, brothers William and Alexander (II) Kedy, sons of Alexander Kedy I, acquired from Joseph Pernette, a large tract of land at the head of Mahone Bay on the Mush-a-Mush River, along with a saw-mill and buildings. Around 1799, the Alexander Kedy House was built as an office for the family business and as a residence for Alexander's (II) new partner, John William Kedy, his son.
Although Alexander Kedy I never lived in the house, his prominent stature in the community was a source of pride for the Kedy Family. Alexander Kedy I and his family were original settlers in Halifax in 1749; they went to Lunenburg in 1753-54. Kedy (I) was elected to represent the Lunenburg Township in the First Assembly called in 1758.
The Alexander Kedy House is a fine example of a New England Colonial style house with a Georgian floor plan. This two-and-a-half storey house, with its five bay front façade, is one of the earliest examples of a duplex, or two family home. The house was built into the side of a hill so that a rear door on the second floor led directly onto the small rise. Two side entries for each half of the house were added around 1850. In 1951, two one-storey wings with end chimneys which symmetrically flank the main structure were added.
The interior of the home was actually designed as a double dwelling. The first floor consisted of two large kitchens, each with its own cooking fire and bake oven. To the rear of the house, separate from the kitchen, was a "hillside cellar." The spiral staircase which leads to the second storey was shared. On each side of the staircase were two large parlours with adjacent bedrooms behind each parlour. There were four small bedrooms on the attic level.
The Alexander Kedy House remained in the Kedy family until 1945. The house is beautifully situated at the head of Mahone Bay, looking across the water to the town of Mahone Bay and to the stretch of shore famous for its picturesque group of three churches. A café and shops are now located in the Alexander Kedy House.
Source: Provincial Heritage Program property files, no. 57, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, NS.
Exterior character-defining elements of the Alexander Kedy House include:
- two-and-a-half storey timber frame construction;
- medium pitched gable roof;
- built into the side of a hill;
- symmetrical five bay front façade;
- long, rectangular plan;
- three front doorways;
- wings on each side of the front façade;
- prominent location facing the head of Mahone Bay.
Interior character-defining elements of the Alexander Kedy House include:
- built as a double dwelling;
- two large kitchens on the first floor;
- hillside cellar located at the rear of the house;
- shared spiral staircase leading to the second storey;
- two large parlours on each side of the staircase on the second floor.