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Lewis A. Hirtle Photography Shop

183 Lincoln Street, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, B0J, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1993/07/29

Hirtle Photograph Shop, Old Town Lunenburg, front façade, 2004; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritge, 2004
Front façade
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Other Name(s)

Lewis A. Hirtle Photography Shop
Knickle's Studio
183 Lincoln Street

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1906/01/01 to 1906/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2004/10/14

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Lewis A. Hirtle Photography Shop is a two-storey wooden building situated on Lincoln Street in the commercial area of Old Town Lunenburg, a Heritage Conservation District in Lunenburg, NS. Built in 1906, the building has wide shop windows immediately at the streetline on the front façade with a central entrance and entrances at either end of the storefront to an upper level and a small shop at 181 Lincoln Street, an annex to the main building. Designation covers both the building and surrounding land.

Heritage Value

Lewis A. Hirtle Photography Shop is valued as an example of commercial architecture dating from the early twentieth century, for its long use as a photography studio, and as an integral part of the Lincoln Street streetscape. Built in 1906, the building was used as a studio by Lewis Hirtle, a well known local photographer. Hirtle's photographs are still recognized locally as he visually recorded much of turn-of-the-century Lunenburg. Except for a period during World War II, the shop continued as a photography studio until recently, first under ownership by Hirtle's son Archibald, and then as Knickle Studio. Significantly, the owners of Knickle Studio also accumulated a large collection of Hirtle's photos and displayed them at the shop. During the Second World War, the building was home to the Prince Olav Cafe, a restaurant whose name reflects the large Norwegian community that was situated in Lunenburg during the war years.

The storefront has not been substantially altered and detailed ornamental work around the doors, windows and eaves has been maintained. Along with many of its neighbouring storefronts, the streetscape provides an excellent illustration of how Lincoln Street's business district looked at the height of its growth a century ago.

Souce: Heritage Designation File 66400-40-30, Town of Lunenburg.

Character-Defining Elements

Character-defining elements of Lewis A. Hirtle Photography Shop relate to its role as a commercial building in Old Town Lunenburg and include:
- the location of the building in the centre of Old Town Lunenburg's business district, built immediately at the streetline alongside other shops;
- the first storey commercial façade, with large display windows that are nearly the full height of the first storey, central recessed door and low rise steps allowing easy access into the main store, and small side shop area to the west;
- other elements adding both detail and a pleasing simplicity to the front façade, including the low pitched gable roof, the three second storey pedimented windows, clapboard cladding, ornamental panels over the shop windows and dentilled cornice;
- the three symmetrical and inviting entranceways to 181, 183 and 185 Lincoln Street, each with the civic number inscribed in the front step riser, panelled doors with large windows and tall transom windows;
- interior elements related to the long term use as a photography shop, including the first floor shop counter, pressed tin ceiling, and second storey layout with a darkroom and large north light window.



Nova Scotia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (NS)

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act

Recognition Type

Municipally Registered Property

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Learning and the Arts

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment


Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Town of Lunenburg, 119 Cumberland Street, P.O. Box 129, Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, B0J 2C0

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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