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Alexander Lawlor House

38 King Street, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, B2Y, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2002/07/10

Alexander Lawlor House, street context with the other heritage properties, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, 1997.; HRM Planning and Development Services, Heritage Property Program, 1997.
Front Elevation
Alexander Lawlor House, rear elevation, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, 2005.; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2005.
Rear Elevation
Alexander Lawlor House, front facade, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, 2005.; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2005.
Front Elevation

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1872/01/01 to 1872/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/01/03

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Alexander Lawlor House is a two-and-a-half storey wood frame constructed building in the Second Empire style. It is located in a commercial district just off the south-east corner of King and Portland Streets in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The house commands attention as sits on the crest of a hill well above other registered houses on the block and follows the slope of the street. The heritage designation applies to the building and the lot it occupies.

Heritage Value

Alexander Lawlor House is valued for its age and association with its original occupants. In 1871 James Orman, a grocer, purchased the land at a public auction from Lawrence Hartshorne, a prominent property owner in Dartmouth. Orman sold the land to his brother-in-law, Alexander Lawlor. Lawlor had the house built in 1872 and lived there until his death in 1905. His widow and his two sons Frederick, a physician in Dartmouth, and Edward, a clergyman in Quebec, continued to own the house until 1910.

In addition, the Alexander Lawlor House is valued for having only three owners since it was built in 1872. The other owners included William Smith who gave the house to his son Horace as a wedding present in 1911. Horace was a harness, carriage, and stable furnishings maker who operated on Portland Street. By 1946 he was operating a saddle business out of the Alexander Lawlor House until his death in 1948. His heirs continued to reside in the house until 1997 when it was sold to the third owners.

Architecturally, Alexander Lawlor House is valued as an example of the Second Empire style. The mansard roof is the main feature of this style that allows additional living space because of the dormers and truncated gable roof. Another feature of the Second Empire style is seen in the decorative façade details such as the bracketed eaves, and hooded windows. The house is one of the few remaining nineteenth century residential buildings in this mainly commercial section of downtown Dartmouth.

Source: Heritage Property File: 38 King Street, Alexander Lawlor House, found at HRM Planning and Development Services, Heritage Property Program, 6960 Mumford Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Alexander Lawlor House related to its Second Empire style and include:

- mansard roof;
- three bay façade;
- side hall plan;
- double bracketed eaves;
- hooded first storey windows;
- truncated gable roof;
- two dormers in both front and rear;
- vertical sash windows;
- fretwork in the frieze.



Nova Scotia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (NS)

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act

Recognition Type

Municipally Registered Property

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Multiple Dwelling


Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer




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




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