Description of Historic Place
The Captain Wood House is a two-storey Classic Revival residence from the mid-19th century. This wooden clapboard-sheathed dwelling with a front-facing gable roof and attached shed extending west from the rear of the house is located on Main Street in Hillsborough.
The Captain Wood House was designated a Local Historic Place for its architecture and for its connection with area seamen, both crew and officers, who sailed to every corner of the globe in the hundreds of wooden ships built in Albert County between 1780 and the 1920’s.
This house was constructed by David Wallace circa 1862. After leaving Hillsborough to take up land where the Moncton Golf Club is now located, David returned to Hillsborough and became a contractor and inn keeper. The residence he built is a good example of rural Classic Revival residential architecture. This style is evident in the gable roof with returned eaves, the window entablatures and the corner pilasters.
The residence was later purchased by a member of the Wood family. Originally from Harvey, New Brunswick, they were a family of seafaring men. The oldest brother, James, went to sea and became a captain, his two brothers eventually following his lead. By 1880, Captain Council Wood was living on Academy Street in Hillsborough with his new bride, Margaret Steeves, who was a second cousin to the Honourable William Henry Steeves. His next-door neighbour was Joshua M. Steeves, (2833 Main Street). the two men became business partners in 1881. That year, Joshua took delivery from the Condon ship yard in Hopewell Cape of a new, graceful, two-hundred-and-twenty-three-foot-long, three-masted schooner, which he christened the 'Magellan'. Captain Council Wood was a part owner and became her master. Soon afterward Captain Wood bought David Wallace’s house.
Sea captains were revered and respected men at this time; at sea, they ruled their ships and crews with near God-like authority. Captain Wood ranked amongst those captains chosen by shareholders to sail a ship in any weather to any corner of the world. These shareholders, including local businesses and members of the community at large, had to trust the honesty of the man responsible for their investment while being thousands of miles away for months or even years at a time. Ashore, a captain’s commanding presence, and his usually financially superior position made him a natural community leader. Few captains returned to shore willingly, their hearts and souls remained upon the briny deep. Captain Wood sailed until after the turn of the 20th century. Once home for good, he fashioned a porthole, now replaced, in one of the doors of the wood shed facing the river and spent time each morning peering through it assessing the wind, the tide, the sky and the barometric levels.
Source: Heritage Hillsborough, William Henry Steeves House Museum, Local Historic Places files
The character-defining elements of the Captain Wood House include:
- two-storey rectangular massing;
- moderately-pitched front-facing gable roof;
- clapboard siding;
- corner pilasters with small capitals under the returned eaves;
- regular fenestration of double-hung windows with entablatures and shutters;
- red-brick chimney;
- concrete steps;
- enclosed entrance;
- a rambling wood and storage shed extending west from the rear of the house.