Description of Historic Place
Bailey House is an eighteenth century home located on the lower section of St. George Street, the main thoroughfare in Annapolis Royal, NS., facing the Annapolis Basin. Built in the Georgian style, the two storey house was used as an inn for several decades, and is associated with many of its famous guests. Both the house and property are included in the provincial designation.
The heritage value of the Bailey House lies in it association with Loyalist settlement in Annapolis Royal, for its use as an inn in the nineteenth century, and for its Georgian architecture.
Bailey House was built circa 1770, however an exact date of construction and its builder is unknown. In 1783 Joseph Totten obtained the property. Totten, a Loyalist and prominent merchant, had recently arrived in Annapolis Royal from the United States. Totten, like many others who were loyal to the British Crown, fled to Nova Scotia during the American Revolution. Local tradition states that during the visit of Prince Edward (father of Queen Victoria) to Nova Scotia in 1794, a ball was held at Bailey House, which the Prince attended. Following Totten’s death, the property was obtained by James Robertson in 1816. Robertson was a justice of the peace in Annapolis Royal. In 1837, the house was purchased by Elizabeth Bailey. Bailey was the widow of Thomas Bailey, and daughter-in-law of the prominent Rev. Jacob Bailey. As a widow, Bailey had to support herself and her three daughters, so she opened the house as an inn, catering to a prominent clientele. Among the visitors was Thomas Chandler Haliburton, famous judge and author. Local tradition also states that the Marquis of Lorne, Governor General of Canada, visited Bailey during an 1880 visit to Nova Scotia.
The house is also valued for its Georgian architecture. Considering the age of Bailey House, it has changed very little since its construction. The house retains its original square floor plan, two storey elevation, low pitched hip roof, two inset chimneys, and a five bay front elevation with a central entrance. The front doorway is adorned with a fan light and classical pediment and pilasters. The narrow central dormer was probably rebuilt at some time in the building’s history. Many interior features also remain. These include the six mantels (four downstairs and two upstairs) that mirror the classical lines of the front doorway. Both main rooms have slightly convex ceilings and cutwork moulding in the front left parlour.
Source: Provincial Heritage Property Files, no. 138, Heritage Division, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax.
Character-defining elements of the Bailey House related to its Georgian architecture include:
- low pitched hip roof;
- square floor plan;
- two inset chimneys;
- symmetrical five bay front elevation with central entrance;
- front door with fan light, pediment and pilasters;
- central dormer;
- original mantels;
- original interior moulding, trim, doors and hardware;
- wood clapboard siding on front and wood shingles on remaining sides;
- six-over-six sash style windows.