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Thurso House

289 Portland Street, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, B2Y, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2003/10/07

Thurso House, east-side elevation, bay projection, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, 2005.; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2005.
Side Elevation
Thurso House, wood glazed door, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, 2005.; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2005.
Front Elevation
Thurso House, Gothic Revival style, gabled dormers, side projections, Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, 1997.; HRM Planning and Development Services, Heritage Property Program, 1997.
Front and Side Elevation

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1872/01/01 to 1872/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/03/30

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Thurso House is a one-and-a-half storey wood frame building in the Gothic Revival style. The house sits on a spacious treed lot above street level and is an excellent example of Victorian architecture of the late nineteenth century. The building is well suited for this site on Portland Street in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The heritage designation applies to the building and the land it occupies.

Heritage Value

Thurso House is valued for its association its notable occupants. Only a handful of people have owned and occupied the dwelling since its construction in 1872. These occupants represent three aspects of influence in the community.

The first owner was Reverend Falconer, an influential religious figure in the community and was the minister of St. James Presbyterian Church. His family lived here until 1876 when the Reverend moved to Trinidad. One son, Robert, became president of the University of Toronto and another son, James, was a professor at Pine Hill. The second owner, Thomas Cutler, represented the Nova Scotian business community and was the manager of the Acadian Sugar Refinery office in Halifax. Cutler lived here from 1876 until his death in 1911. His daughter, Susie, remained in the house until 1912 until it was purchased by the third owner, Robert Murray. Murray represented the legal profession. He was a lawyer who became a judge of the County Court. Murray died in 1952 but his wife, Frances, remained in the house until 1963. The house has been sold only twice since 1963.

Architecturally, Thurso House is valued as an example of the Gothic Revival style. Some modifications have been made to the house but the overall style is seen in the typical features of the Gothic Revival style. The dwelling is a one-and-a-half storey wood frame building with a steeply pitched gable roof. There are gabled dormers and a cross gable which are the defining elements of this style. Thurso House features the Gothic Revival style in its entrance details, arches, and hoods on the first storey windows. As well the house has bay windows on its sides. The house sustained damage in the 1917 Halifax Explosion, which is evident in the chips in the mirror above the fireplace in the front room.

Source: Heritage Property File: 289 Portland Street, Thurso 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 Thurso House related to its Gothic Revival style include:

- one-and-a-half storey wood frame construction;
- steeply pitched gable roof;
- cross gable;
- symmetrical façade;
- three gable dormers on front;
- gable dormers on side elevation;
- hooded first storey windows;
- bay windows on side of house;
- glazed wood front door with transom and side lights.



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



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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