Description of Historic Place
Manson House is a one-and-one half storey, three bay façade, Cape Cod style house with two additions. The house overlooks Lochaber Lake, in North Lochaber, Nova Scotia. Both the house and its surrounding property are included in the designation.
Manson House is valued for its association with carriage maker Alexander Manson and its role in the manufacturing and agricultural history of Lochaber.
Manson House was built in 1865 by Alexander Manson, who had just completed his apprenticeship as a carriage maker. At this time Manson also erected a carriage shop and on this property, which he called Oak Dell. The original building was a Cape Cod style residence which later had an irregular two-storey wing and rear one-storey ell added.
Manson House soon served as a stagecoach stop for the Antigonish to Sherbrooke coach that operated between ca. 1860 and ca. 1890 and became known as 14 Mile House, where travellers could dine and stage drivers could change horses. Manson had added a kitchen and dining room to his home to accommodate his new business. In 1878 Manson was appointed way keeper and later postmaster and Justice of the Peace. A post office was established on the ground floor of the carriage factory. The area around Manson House became a small centre for manufacturing. A blacksmith shop was soon established by Manson’s partner, and a cheese factory was built next to the carriage shop.
Manson was known for his for the excellence of his work and continued to build carriages and sleighs until 1913. Manson died in 1925 and his son took over the post office, which continued until 1969, making Oak Dell or Manson House an economic and social centre of Lochaber for over one-hundred years.
The house is also valued for its unique evolution, which is related directly to Manson and his activities. While the original Cape Cod form is not uncommon in Nova Scotia, the irregular two-storey, three-bay addition with a salt box style roof and the rear one-room kitchen addition make the building as a whole unique in Nova Scotia.
Source: Notice of Registration of Property as a Provincial Heritage Property, Provincial Property Heritage File no. 081.
Character-defining elements of the original Cape Code structure of the Manson House including:
- one-and-one half storey, three bay façade with clapboard cladding;
- high gable roof with projecting eaves;
- six-over-six flat windows with plain lintels, sides and sills;
- main entrance consists of a flat outside opening with shaped pediment and projecting eaves, transom with three lights, with pilasters and sidelights on the enclosed porch;
- flat inner opening of main entrance with shaped transom and multiple lights.
Character-defining elements of the side wing addition of the Manson House include:
- two-storey, three bay façade with central entrance and clapboard cladding;
- six over six-pane windows;
- plain frieze with supporting brackets;
- salt-box shaped roof with extending gable roof at the rear adjoining the second addition and a large overhang at the front.
Character-defining elements of the rear addition of the Manson House include:
- one-and-one half storey addition with clapboard cladding;
- central entrance between two six over six paned windows;
- symmetrical façade of second entrance with a central entrance between two one over one-pane windows.