Peter Smyth House
Links and documents
1845/01/01 to 1855/12/31
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Peter Smyth House is a two-and-one-half storey, Scottish style stone house. The front façade is symmetrical with two large windows on either side of the prominent entrance, with a single dormer above. Built between 1845 and 1855, the house is located on a small slope on the main street of Port Hood, Nova Scotia with a clear view over the Port Hood Harbour and the nearby islands. Both the building and its surrounding property are included in the provincial designation.
The Peter Smyth House is valued as a fine example of a stone residential structure in Inverness County and as one of only three stone houses remaining in the county. Built between 1845 and 1855 for Peter Smyth, the stones of the house are believed to have come from a quarry near Port Hood. The house is two-and-a-half storeys when viewed from the rear and one-and-three-quarters from the front as it is built into a small slope. Seven stone stairs lead to the front door that is enclosed with a stone lintel and pillars, and a fan window above. It also has sidelights with diamond shaped panes. There is a small Scottish (five-sided) dormer above the front entrance with a six-over-six window. The rear entrance has transom and sidelights, and above the door is a row of stones about five centimetres out from the line of the wall that continues around the perimeter of the house to identify where the first level ends and the second level begins.
The Peter Smyth House is also valued as the home of one of the most prominent Port Hood merchants and politicians of the nineteenth century, Peter Smyth. Smyth was born in Dublin, Ireland and came to Port Hood circa 1830 were he established himself as a fish and cattle merchant. He owned at least two stores for both retail and wholesale businesses and he also dealt extensively in land. Smyth first represented the County of Inverness in the Provincial House of Assembly during various sessions of the Assembly between 1847 and 1863. In 1867 he was appointed to a seat in the Legislative Council, which he held until his death in 1879. Smyth was also made a justice of the peace and later served as Custos Rotulorum (Chief Magistrate). Smyth was a Commissioner for the School Board as well as for roads throughout most of his years in Port Hood. He was also a strong supporter of the Roman Catholic Church and bequeathed a portion of his estate to the Diocese of Antigonish, part of which was used for the debt on the new cathedral in Antigonish, St. Francis Xavier College, and the establishment of a boys and girls school.
Source: Provincial Property Heritage Files, no. 041
Character-defining elements of the Peter Smyth House include:
- sandstone blocks of varying lengths;
- seven stone stairs leading to the front door;
- six-over-six windows on first and second storeys;
- three-sided rear dormer;
- stone projection immediately beneath the eaves line running along the perimeter of the building.
Character-defining elements of the Peter Smyth House relate to its Scottish influenced Georgian style and include:
- five bay symmetrical façade;
- stone pillars and lintel surrounding the front door with fanlight and sidelights with diamond shaped panes;
- transom and sidelights surrounding the rear door;
- paired stone chimneys, one at either end, entirely enclosed within the walls of the house;
- Scottish dormer above the front door with a six-over-six pane window;
- skew on gable ends.
Province of Nova Scotia
Heritage Property Act
Provincially Registered Property
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Trade and Commerce
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
- Peopling the Land
Function - Category and Type
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Provincial Registry found at Heritage Property Program, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, NS B3H 3A6
Cross-Reference to Collection