Description of Historic Place
The Local Women's Council House is a large, two-and-a-half storey, Queen Anne style house located in the South End of Halifax, NS. The house is an excellent example of Queen Anne style with its irregular massing, variety of surface textures and heavy ornamentation. The heritage designation applies to the building and the land it occupies.
The Local Women’s Council House is valued for its historical associations and architectural style. It was built in 1903 for George Wright, an internationally-known publisher, land developer, businessman, and philanthropist. The house is also valued for its association with the Local Council of Women chapter who own the house.
Wright was known for producing "Wright's World Dictionary," the first world directory of trade. In the late nineteenth century he began to develop the city’s South End, building numerous large, single-family, homes. Wright is best known for having built the "Wright" or "Marble Building," and the "St. Paul's Building" on Barrington Street, in Downtown Halifax. Upon Wright’s death in 1912 on the sinking of the “Titanic,” he left several large bequests to charitable institutions, including his residence on Young Avenue to the Local Council of Women of Halifax.
The chapter is part of the National Council of Women of Canada that was founded in 1893. The Council was founded to work for societal reform, improved education for women, and lobbied for women's suffrage. The Halifax chapter was the only Canadian council to own and operate their own house. They are known for exerting a great influence for the advancement of women, the betterment of health, education, and social conditions in Halifax.
Built by the prominent Halifax architect James Charles Dumaresq, the Local Women’s Council House is also valued as an outstanding example of the Queen Anne style of architecture. The house is one of a few surviving examples in Nova Scotia with the W. C. Harris-style round tower projection, which is defined by its curved glass panes and conical roof. A rare feature of the building is the Neo-classical, high-pillared porticoes and full complex of verandahs, which many residences of this style have not retained. The house is the dominant feature of the intersection of Young Ave, Inglis Street and South Park Street.
Sources: HRM Heritage Property File 989 Young Avenue, Local Women’s Council House, HRM Planning and Development Services, Heritage Property Program, 6960 Mumford Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Character-defining elements of the Local Women's Council House include:
- all Queen Anne Revival features including the W.C. Harris-style round tower projection with curved glass panes and conical roof, the wrap-around veranda, irregular massing, and the steeply pitched hipped gable roof with lower crossed gables;
- Neo-classic high ionic pillared porticoes;
- pediments with imitation Tudor-styled half-timbering, and central Palladian window;
- conical-capped wing;
- multiple surface textures, materials, and high degree of ornamentation;
- variety of windows including the central Palladian, 2-over-2 double hung windows, and bay windows;
- inset wooden panels along tower and wing, with roof dormers using the imitation Tudor styled half-timbering;
- elaborate trimming and brackets;
- remains of historic ornamental wrought iron fence that runs across both Inglis Street and Young Avenue sides of the property;
- remains of an Victorian garden on the Young Avenue side of the building.