Description of Historic Place
The Barracks is a two-and-one-half storey, gable roof, five bay façade, Georgian style building located at Starr’s Point, Nova Scotia. It was constructed for the New England Planters in 1778 as military barracks during the American Revolution. Both the building and its surrounding property are included in the provincial designation.
The Barracks is valued for its Georgian style, age and for its role in the settlement of the area.
Between 1760 and 1763 a group of settlers from New England, known as the Planters, arrived in Nova Scotia. The majority settled on grants in the Annapolis Valley, primarily on lands left vacant by the expelled Acadians.
Shortly after the American Revolution began, coastal Nova Scotian towns feared raids from American privateers. To protect settlers in the Cornwallis area, the colonial government built The Barracks on a piece of land belonging to Samuel Starr, a Planter from Norwich, Connecticut and militia officer. The building was erected close to the militia parade grounds and served as a temporary residence for militiamen who came from a distance to train. It was constructed in three phases over eighteen years. The first section was built in 1778 as a one-and-one-half-storey, two-room building with a loft above, and could accommodate forty men. The building was expanded later that year with the addition of a larger two-and-one-half-storey building on the east elevation, possibly constructed using an existing house frame. The complex now offered room for fifty-six men, storage, infirmary and an officers’ quarters in the original smaller building.
It was sold by the government in 1780 after the threat of American privateers had ended and again by Samuel Starr in 1782 to John Widden, an influential Planter who was a militia officer, judge in the Court of Common Pleas, and a Customs Officer, who operated the Customs Office from the building. A third addition, another half storey, was added in 1796 following the sale of the property to David Whidden. The Barracks passed through the Whidden family until 1849. Since that time The Barrack has continued to function as a residence and later an inn.
Following the third addition, the building took on a decidedly Georgian appearance with a central entrance, five bay symmetrical façade and two large chimneys. The building has changed very little since its final alteration in 1796.
Source: Provincial Heritage Property files, file no. 048.
Character-defining elements of The Barracks include:
- location bordering the original military parade to the west;
- two-and-one-half-storey massing;
- wooden clapboard cladding;
- all evidence of original construction methods and form;
- bake oven in basement and original fireplaces;
- original and historic interior trim, moulding and panels.
Character-defining elements of the Georgian style of The Barracks include:
- five bay symmetrical façade;
- central entrance with transom and sidelights;
- gable roof;
- paired chimneys;
- wooden double hung, six-over-six windows.