Norman J. Layton House
142 Smith Avenue, Truro, Nova Scotia, B2N, Canada
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Norman J. Layton House is atwo storey wood frame dwelling located in a residential neighborhood at 142 Smith Avenue, Truro, NS in the west end of the town. Built in 1896, it is a free-classic Queen Anne building, with a prominent wrap-around porch and highly unusual side profile. The designation includes the building and surrounding property.
Norman J. Layton House is valued for its long association with the family of Francis Layton, which has included many prominent members of the community over several generations. Layton, a blacksmith, moved from rural Colchester County to Truro in the early 1830s and started a carriage-making business on nearby Willow Street. His elder son, George A. Layton, who apprenticed with his father as a carriage-maker, later became a customs officer and furniture merchant and built this house in 1896.
Layton’s younger son, prominent lawyer Norman J. Layton, held the land where this house sits in trust until 1896. Norman J’s son, dentist Norman McG. Layton re-acquired the house shortly after World War II.
Norman J. Layton House is also valued as one of the finest examples in Truro of free-classic Queen Anne Revival architecture. The building has many unusual features, notably the hipped roof in the front transitioning into a rear gable end, and a lower gable end below the first.
The house is formally oriented to the west toward Willow Street, rather than the more obvious Smith Avenue which it abuts. When constructed, it was part of a trio of Layton houses on Willow Street, and access to Smith Avenue was blocked by a narrow strip of land. As a result the house was turned to face Willow Street. It was many years before the house was considered part of Smith Avenue.
Source: Planning Department, Town of Truro, file 10MNS0032
External elements that define the building’s heritage character include:
- building elements, including: basic Queen Anne Revival form and massing, with gable-end rear extensions; wide moulded cornices outlined in dentils; hipped-roof wrap-around porch with turned supports, arched openings and decorative railings.
- window and door elements, including: narrow sashed windows; half-moon strip window in the front pediment; square art-glass indow beside the front door; pedimented window above the entrance, with heavy support brackets; wide-moulded window and door surrounds.
- building materials, including: wooden clapboard cladding and trim; asphalt-shingled roof.
Elements that define the site’s heritage character include:
- formal orientation of the house toward Willow Street rather than Smith Avenue;
- elevation of the house on a grassy terrace built into a low hillside.
Local Governments (NS)
Heritage Property Act
Municipally Registered Property
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Trade and Commerce
- Peopling the Land
- Migration and Immigration
Function - Category and Type
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
George A. Layton
Location of Supporting Documentation
Planning Department, Town of Truro, PO Box 427, Truro, NS B2N 5C5; file 10MNS0032
Cross-Reference to Collection