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Durkee Memorial Library

4048 No. 340 Highway, Carleton, Nova Scotia, B0W, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1991/11/27

The dedication ceremony, August 7, 1938, at the Durkee Memorial Library, Carleton, Yarmouth County, NS.; Courtesy of Durkee Memorial Library trustees.
Durkee Memorial Library Dedication Ceremony
Front elevation of the Durkee Memorial Library, Carleton, Yarmouth County, NS, 2006.; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture & Heritage, 2006
Front Elevation
Southeast perspective of the Durkee Memorial Library, Carleton, Yarmouth County, NS, 2006.; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture & Heritage, 2006
Southeast Perspective

Other Name(s)

Durkee Memorial Library
Carleton Library

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1938/01/01 to 1938/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/03/31

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Durkee Memorial Library is a Vernacular style log building constructed in 1938. It is located on Highway 340 in the village of Carleton, which is about twenty-seven kilometres northeast of the town of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. The land and building are included in the municipal heritage designation.

Heritage Value

The Durkee Memorial Library is valued for its association with the Durkee family, for its log construction and Vernacular style architecture.

The Durkee Memorial Library was built in 1938 in memory of James and Elizabeth Durkee by two of their ten children. James Durkee was the eldest son of one of the original settlers of Carleton and spent his entire life in the village. He was a carpenter and cabinet maker and a partner in a local wood-working mill. All of the children born to the Durkees moved away from Carleton and became successful in their own fields. Some years after the parents passed away, two of the sons decided to build, equip and maintain a library in the village in memory of their parents, to whom they credited their success in the world by their good example. On August 7, 1938 the library was dedicated and the keys presented by Capt. Alfred H. Durkee and Rev. J. Stanley Durkee to the trustees.

William Henry Cann was engaged by Rev. Durkee to build the library on an unused portion of Memorial Park, which was owned and maintained by the local Women’s Institute and for which permission was granted. Some years earlier the corner lot had been acquired by the Women's Institute expressly for the purpose of erecting a cenotaph, which had been done and which left much of the lot otherwise unused. This was also felt to be an appropriate location because of its proximity to the schoolhouse just across the road to the south, making it convenient for the use of local school children. The building was constructed in the Vernacular style, of locally cut logs, and was finished within four months, complete with a large stone fireplace. Unfortunately, Mr. Cann, the builder, passed away shortly after construction was completed, about six weeks before the dedication of the building.

Source: Municipal Heritage Property files: Durkee Memorial Library; located at 400 Main Street, Yarmouth, NS.

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Durkee Memorial Library include:

- location in a rural community;
- proximity to a cenotaph and a school;
- continuous use as a community library.

The character-defining elements of the Vernacular style of the Durkee Memorial Library include:

- log construction;
- one storey with a one storey back ell;
- medium pitched gable roof;
- large central fireplace and chimney;
- symmetrical three bay façade;
- centred entrance in an open porch;
- porch roof supported by log posts;
- double hung sash windows with four-over-four glazing;
- paired windows in façade;
- plain corner-board trim.



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

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Learning and the Arts
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type




Architect / Designer



William Henry Cann

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Municipal Heritage Property files; Joint Heritage Office, 400 Main Street, Yarmouth, NS, B5A 1G2

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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