Links and documents
1872/01/01 to 1872/12/31
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
James Austin House is a one-and-a-half wood frame Modified Gothic style house located on an L-shaped lot on Portland and Mackay Streets in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. This house sits well on its site and relates well to the neighbouring registered property, Thurso House, in terms of style and design. The heritage designation applies to the building and the surrounding land it occupies.
James Austin House is valued for its association with its early occupants, which are among Dartmouth’s most prominent citizens, and as a good example of Modified Gothic style architecture.
The house is named for James Austin who had the house built in 1872. Austin was a surveyor, land owner, and Commissioner of Crown Lands. Austin sold the house in 1878 to J. Walter Allison, a well-known merchant. Allison served as a Commissioner for the Dartmouth Commons for many years, was a business associate of chocolate and soap maker John P. Mott, and served on the Dartmouth Ferry Commission from 1896 to 1901. In 1887 Allison sold the house to John Payzant who at the time was the president of the Bank of Nova Scotia and former Mayor of Dartmouth. Frederick J. Ward, a co-owner of John P. Mott & Co. purchased the house from Payzant in 1898. Members of the Ward family lived in the house until 1957.
Architecturally, James Austin House is valued as a good example of the Modified Gothic style and relates well to the surrounding structures in both style and design. The one-and-a-half storey wood frame house has a steeply pitched gable roof and “L” plan, gable dormers, asymmetrical façade, and bay windows, all features of the Modified Gothic style, a common style in Nova Scotia between 1860 and 1890. As well it has a spectacular semi-circular double verandah supported by Doric columns. The bracketed eaves and small bellcast roof above the second storey add interest to this structure.
Source: HRM Heritage Property File: 287 Portland Street, James Austin House, found at HRM Planning and Development Services, Heritage Property Program, 6960 Mumford Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
The character-defining elements of James Austin House relate to its Modified Gothic style and include:
- steeply pitched gable roof and L-plan layout;
- front porch;
- one-and-a-half storey wood construction;
- chimney at peak;
- bracketed eaves;
- steeply pitched dormers;
- semi-circular double verandah supported by Doric columns;
- turned ballasts on main verandah and rectangular ones on second floor verandah;
- bay windows on gabled ends;
- bellcast roof over second bay;
- side hall plan doorway with large transom and side lights
Local Governments (NS)
Heritage Property Act
Municipally Registered Property
Theme - Category and Type
- Peopling the Land
Function - Category and Type
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
HRM Planning and Development Services, 6960 Mumford Road, Halifax, NS B3L 4P1
Cross-Reference to Collection