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West-Hawkins House

2421 Brunswick Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3K, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1992/01/30

West Hawkins House, front façade, 2004; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2004
Front elevation
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Other Name(s)

West-Hawkins House
Adsum House

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/03/02

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The historic place is a two-storey, wood frame dwelling, designed in Second Empire style built in 1885. The house is located on the northern end of a residential area of Brunswick Street in Halifax, NS. The heritage designation applies to the building and the land it occupies.

Heritage Value

The West-Hawkins House is valued for its historical associations, architectural style and social value. The historic place was built for August West, one of the five West brothers who rose to great prominence as ship owners, importers, and merchants. The West-Hawkins House is an example of houses built for such merchant families in the Brunswick Street area of Halifax during the 1860's and 1870's. The house was later sold to George Smith, president of G.M. Smith and Company Ltd., a retailer of hardware and carriage parts. Presently the building is known as Adsum House, a support service for homless women and children. The house's architectural value lies in its Second Empire style elements such as the wood frame structure, stone foundation and mansard roof with dormers. Other features such as the decorated doorway, symmetrically arranged windows and specifically the two storey, five-sided bay windows which were common to this period as well and represent a good example of the Second Empire style in Halifax.

In relation to surrounding buildings, the scale, proportion and design of the West-Hawkins House is similar to many of the houses on the north end of Brunswick Street. Many of the houses in this area of Brunswick Street together represent an era of prosperity envisaged by the mercantile class in Halifax at that time.

Source: HRM Planning and Development Services, Heritage File no. 575

Character-Defining Elements

The key character defining elements of West-Hawkins House include:

- wood frame structure with wooden shingles and a stone foundation;
- a symmetrical two-storey, five-sided bay window topped with a dormered cupola on the right side of the entryway and a two storey rectangular shaped square projecting bay on the opposite side;
- window decorations of bracketted corniced hoods with embedded medallions in the center;
- featrues that reflect the building's construction as a luxury-type home, including: double door with transom above and an open portico with decorative columns and historic handrail.



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

Peopling the Land

Function - Category and Type



Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

HRM Planning and Development Services, 6960 Mumford Road, Halifax, NS, B3L 4P1, File 2421 Brunswick Street.

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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