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Benjamin Wier House

1459 Hollis Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3J, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1981/11/02

Benjamin Wier House, Italiate style facade, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 1997.; HRM Planning and Development Services, Heritage Property Program, 1997.
Front Elevation
Benjamin Wier House, symmetrical five bay facade, dormers, string course, Halifax, Nova Scotia, 2005.; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2005.
Front Elevation
No Image

Other Name(s)

n/a

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1863/01/01 to 1863/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/11/07

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Benjamin Wier House is a two-and-a-half storey brick house trimmed in sandstone in the Italianate style. The house has the basic structure of a Georgian dwelling with Italianate features. It is located on Hollis Street across from Government House and on a block shared by the Keith Brewery Market in Downtown Halifax, Nova Scotia. This structure is located among other registered buildings on the street. The heritage designation applies to the building and the land it occupies.

Heritage Value

Benjamin Wier House is valued for its association with its original occupant. The house was built by Henry Peters for Benjamin Wier in 1863. Wier was a Member of the Provincial Legislative Assembly (MLA) and served on the Provincial Executive Council with other notable members such as Joseph Howe. Later in his political career he was appointed to the Senate. As a businessman and shipyard owner, Weir benefited from the events of the American Civil War. Wier's company repaired the “Tallahassee,” a Confederate raider vessel in 1864, when it arrived in Halifax for refuelling. The “Tallahassee” was responsible for the sinking of many Union merchant vessels. Under the laws of neutrality, the “Tallahassee” was only allowed to dock in Halifax for forty-eight hours and had to flee in the middle of the night to avoid being attacked from enemy ships that had followed it to Halifax.

Benjamin Wier House is also valued for its association with other residents. Sir Adams Archibald lived in the house from 1885 to 1892. He was a lawyer for the City of Halifax, MLA, also sat on the Executive Council, and a Solicitor General for Nova Scotia. Most notably Archibald was the first Secretary of State in the first Federal cabinet. Archibald was also leader of the Liberal Party at the time of Confederation, and was knighted in 1886. Another father of confederation, William Henry also lived in the house from 1884 to 1885. Henry was a Judge of the first Supreme Court. In 1930 the house became home to the Elk's Lodge.

Architecturally, Benjamin Wier House if valued as an excellent example of Italianate style as reflected in the building’s Palladian and bracketed hooded windows. Typical of this style is the wrought iron ornamentation on the second storey balcony. The rear of the building features a Romeo and Juliet balcony that is characteristic of the Italianate style found in villas.

Source: Heritage Property File: Benjamin Wier House, 1459 Hollis Street, found at HRM Planning and Development Services, Heritage Property Program, 6960 Mumford Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of Benjamin Wier House relate to its Italianate style and include:

- two-and-a-half storeys
- brick building materials;
- symmetrical façade and central doorway;
- decorative sandstone accents;
- round headed windows with hoods;
- wide bracketed eaves;
- dormer and Palladian windows;
- wrought iron balcony;
- Romeo and Juliet balcony;
- truncated gable roof;
- elaborate sandstone carving;
- sandstone sills and string course on first and second storey.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Nova Scotia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (NS)

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act

Recognition Type

Municipally Registered Property

Recognition Date

1981/11/02

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

n/a

Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land
Settlement
Governing Canada
Politics and Political Processes
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type

Current

Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building

Historic

Residence
Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer

n/a

Builder

Henry Peters

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

HRM Planning and Development Services, 6960 Mumford Road, Halifax, NS B3L 4P1

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

23MNS0328

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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