Description of Historic Place
The John Henry Ernst House is a one and one half storey, five bay façade, rural Nova Scotia, Georgian style house. Built circa 1800, the house is of a simple style with symmetrical placements of the six over six windows and the enclosed three-sided entry porch. Located in Blockhouse, Nova Scotia, the house and its surrounding property are included in the designation.
The John Henry Ernst House is valued for its Georgian architecture, for its age and for its association with the Ernst family of Lunenburg County, NS.
The John Henry Ernst House is valued as one of the finest examples of Georgian architecture in rural Nova Scotia as it has a virtually unaltered exterior. The two-and-one-half storey house has a five bay front façade, a gable roof and an enclosed three-sided entry porch. There are six-over-six windows on each elevation as well as corner boards. Built to follow the grade change from the front of the house to the rear, there is an enclosed entrance to the cellar from the side of the house. Some original interior elements have been preserved, including built in china cabinets, fireplace mantels and decorative moldings in the two ground floor parlors. Also, the cellar kitchen has the original large open hearth and beehive oven.
The John Henry Ernst House is also valued because it was built ca.1800 by members of the Ernst family, who were original settlers of Lunenburg County. Christian Ernst arrived in Halifax from Halberstadt, now Germany, aboard the “Alderney” in 1750. He married Regina Barbara Hirtle and settled near Mahone Bay while waiting for his farm lot grant in the Blockhouse area, as did many other German immigrants. In association with Christian Ernst and his son John Peter, Alexander Keddy II and his family began to build houses. The two families worked together, the Ernst as framers, rough carpenters, and the Keddy’s as the finish carpenters. Circa 1800 they built the John Henry Ernst House for Christian’s seventh son, John Henry. Since its construction, the John Henry Ernst House has remained in the Ernst family.
Source: Notice of Registration of Property as a Provincial Heritage Property, Provincial Property Heritage File no. 089.
Character-defining elements of the John Henry Ernst House include:
- clapboard cladding;
- six-over-six windows;
- corner boards;
- enclosed three-sided porch;
Character-defining elements of the Georgian style of the John Henry Ernst House include:
- two-and-one-half storeys;
- five bay symmetrical façade;
- medium pitched gable roof.
Character-defining elements of the interior of the John Henry Ernst House include:
- historic built in china cabinets;
- historic fireplace mantels;
- historic surrounds and cornice moldings in the two ground floor parlors;
- cellar-level kitchen with large open hearth and beehive oven;
- tight corkscrew stairs with a rope handrail from the ground floor entrance foyer the attic bedchambers.