Links and documents
1840/01/01 to 1840/12/31
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Owl Drug Store is a two-and-one-half storey wood frame structure with Scottish dormers, situated on the north corner lot at King and Portland Street in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The designation is for the building and the lot it occupies.
The Owl Drug Store is valued for its association with it owners, uses and with the 1917 Halifax Explosion. It is also valued for its architecture and a landmark in Downtown Dartmouth.
The Owl Drug Store was one of Dartmouth, Nova Scotia's best known downtown businesses. Located on the corner of King and Portland Streets, the double lot on which the building is situated was originally part of the Lawrence Hartshorne estate; Hartshorne was a prominent merchant and politician. The building was constructed in 1840 by John Kennedy as a hotel and tavern. Kennedy operated the hotel and tavern for several years until financial difficulties forced him to sell his business in 1851 to Dominick Farrell, a prosperous liquor and grocery merchant. Farrell was also a prominent member of the Liberal Party and was appointed magistrate in 1848.
Farrell owned the building until 1886 when he sold it to Dr. Thomas Milsom. At the time King Street was a popular location for medical practitioners of the community. Several doctors lived along the street and following the 1917 Halifax Explosion, many victims were brought to the street where the doctors treated them in their homes and along the sidewalk. After Dr. Milsom died his widow Emily lived in the building until 1913 when it was sold to Dartmouth Developments which sold it to National Trust in 1919. It is believed that the building was used as a bank sometime from 1919 until 1929 when it was sold to A. MacIntosh, a druggist, who opened the Owl Drug Store. The Owl Drug Store remained in operation until the mid 1990s.
Architecturally, the Owl Drug Store is valued as a landmark. Despite alterations to the building’s original Neo-classical style, the building serves as an integral element of the main commercial district. The building is a large two-and-one-half storey wood frame structure with shingle siding. The building has an asymmetrical roofline with a split level form and two dormer windows on the King Street façade. Though the roof lines remain intact, there have been several alterations to the building, including the addition of store windows on ground level. There are two Scottish dormers above a row of windows on the second storey.
Source: HRM Heritage Property File 71 Portland Street, Owl Drug Store, found at HRM Planning and Development Services, Heritage Property Program, 6960 Mumford Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The character-defining elements of the Owl Drug Store include:
- prominent location in the commercial district of Downtown Dartmouth;
- large two-and-one-half stories;
- wood frame;
- shingle siding;
- two Scottish dormers;
- asymmetrical roofline;
- split level form.
Local Governments (NS)
Heritage Property Act
Municipally Registered Property
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Trade and Commerce
Function - Category and Type
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Office or Office Building
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Eating or Drinking Establishment
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
HRM Planning and Development Services, 6960 Mumford Road, Halifax, NS B3L 4P1
Cross-Reference to Collection