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Bulmer House

8740 No 2 Highway, Great Village, Nova Scotia, B0M, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1997/05/21

Side elevation, Bulmer House, Great Village, 2004.; Heritage Division, Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2004
Side Elevation
Front elevation, Bulmer House, Great Village, 2004.; Heritage Division, Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2004
Front Elevation
Detail of front entrance, Bulmer House, Great Village, 2004.; Heritage Division, Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2004
Front Entrance

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1800/01/01 to 1850/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/10/03

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Bulmer House is a simple one-and-one-half storey wood frame structure with wood clapboard, tin shingles and a symmetrical façade. The house is of a Classical Revival style in the vernacular form with a kitchen ell and a shed extension. Built in the early to mid nineteenth century, the house is located in the heart of Great Village, Nova Scotia, and the rear of the house overlooks the marches and the Bay of Fundy. Both the house and the surrounding property are all included in the designation.

Heritage Value

The Bulmer House is valued for its historical association with poet Elizabeth Bishop, a Pulitzer Prize recipient, whose work incorporated the imagery of the Great Village landscape, and the house itself. Elizabeth Bishop was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 1911. Her father died shortly after and her mother suffered a nervous breakdown when Elizabeth was four years old, and was institutionalized for the remaining eighteen years of her life. She remained with her maternal grandparents in Great Village, where she and her mother had been living since the death of her father, for three years. She was then sent to live with her grandparents in Worcester who were better able to support her. She spent summers in Great Village, and throughout the 1940’s and 1950’s she visited Nova Scotia for regular and extended periods.

Elizabeth Bishop is recognized as an influential figure in twentieth century American poetry. She initially published her poetry and prose in small periodicals and it was not until 1946 that she published for a book. By the late 1940’s she was already widely recognized and in 1956 won the Pulitzer Prize for her poetry. She was also elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and was the first woman to win the Newstadt International Prize for Literature. Bishop received over a dozen major fellowships and prizes, and six honorary degrees, including one from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia. Fifty percent of her work derives its inspiration and sources from her memories of Great Village. Of all Elizabeth Bishop’s prose pieces the best known and most analyzed is “In the Village,” agreed to be referencing Great Village. The community of Great Village, as well as the Bulmer House, appears repeatedly in the imagery of Bishop’s work.

The Bulmer House is also valued for its architecture as a good example of a typical one-and-one-half storey Classical Revival home common to rural Nova Scotia. The house is located in the center of Great Village, with the rear of the house facing the marshes of the Bay of Fundy. The house is of wood construction with wood clapboard cladding and a tin shingled roof. The main façade of the house is balanced and symmetrical with eight-over-eight panned windows. The main part of the house is a rectangular, gable-roofed structure and has two extensions, the kitchen ell and a shed. There are also the entry porches, dormers and a skylight that were added after its construction.

Source: Notice of Registration of Property as a Provincial Heritage Property, Provincial Property Heritage File no. 221.

Character-Defining Elements

Character-defining elements of the Bulmer House include:

- simple one and one half storey, wood framed house;
- wood clapboard cladding and tin shingle cladding on the roof;
- rectangular, gabled roof main structure with kitchen ell and shed additions;
- entry porches, dormers and sky light addition;
- balanced and symmetrical front façade;
- central porch with a window on either side;
- eight over eight front façade windows;
- six-over-six windows on side elevations.



Nova Scotia

Recognition Authority

Province of Nova Scotia

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act

Recognition Type

Provincially Registered Property

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Learning and the Arts
Peopling the Land

Function - Category and Type


Single Dwelling


Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Provincial Registry found at Heritage Property Program, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, NS B3H 3A6

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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