Old Yarmouth Academy
Academy Tea Room
Links and documents
1830/01/01 to 1831/12/31
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Old Yarmouth Academy is a Greek Revival style building constructed in 1831 and is one of the oldest purpose-built schoolhouses in the province, and perhaps in Canada. It is located in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, in the oldest section of the town and has been restored in recent years. The building and its lot are included in the municipal heritage designation.
The Old Yarmouth Academy is valued as the oldest school building still standing in Yarmouth County and one of the oldest extant school buildings in Canada. It is also valued for its Greek Revival style of architecture, its restoration, and subsequent reuse in more recent years.
The Old Yarmouth Academy was built in 1830-1831 as a schoolhouse, a relatively rare event in Nova Scotia in the early 1800s. It was designed by James B. Dane and built by Edward Huestis. The Academy was opened on September 10, 1832, though the second storey was not completed until 1833, and its use as a schoolhouse continued until 1864, when the Education Act was passed in Nova Scotia leading to the construction of more schools and more school districts as set off within the town.
In 1864 the Old Yarmouth Academy was sold to John W. Moody who had it moved closer to the street and used it as an auction house and offices for a time. It was later divided into apartments and remained as such for more than one hundred years and through several changes of ownership. The building was designated as a municipal heritage property in 1984, but after the death of the owner in 1989, the building sat vacant for several years. By 1992 it was in a derelict condition and the Town of Yarmouth, appreciating its historical importance, purchased it and restored it.
The restoration project was carried out over the following two years and after its completion a long term lease was negotiated with the Victorian Order of Nurses who maintained their offices there until 1999. In 2001, after being unable to find another tenant, the Town decided to sell the property. Since then, another use has been brought about for the Old Yarmouth Academy as a tea room and gift shop, thus continuing to preserve this historically important building.
Source: Heritage Property Files, Old Yarmouth Academy file.
The character-defining elements of the Old Yarmouth Academy include:
- location in the oldest area of the town;
- restored condition;
- traditional style;
- proximity to street.
The character-defining elements of the Greek Revival architecture of the Old Yarmouth Academy include:
- stone foundation;
- two storeys;
- wood construction and clapboard cladding;
- medium pitched gable roof;
- pedimented gable on facade;
- wide eaves with moulded dentils;
- classical frieze with triglyphs and metopes;
- asymmetrical 4 bay facade with a centred entrance and an off-centre entrance;
- full width entablature over first storey bays;
- four light transom over centre door;
- double hung sash windows;
- upper storey windows tight to frieze;
- six-over-six glazing in most windows;
- half round window in front pediment;
- corner- and base-board trim;
- “ACADEMY” sign centred in front frieze.
Local Governments (NS)
Heritage Property Act
Municipally Registered Property
1864/01/01 to 1864/01/01
1992/01/01 to 1992/01/01
1984/01/01 to 1984/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Learning and the Arts
- Building Social and Community Life
- Education and Social Well-Being
Function - Category and Type
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Eating or Drinking Establishment
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Shop or Wholesale Establishment
- Primary or Secondary School
Architect / Designer
James B. Dane
Location of Supporting Documentation
Municipal Heritage Property files: Old Yarmouth Academy; located at 400 Main Street, Yarmouth, NS
Cross-Reference to Collection