Description of Historic Place
Boultenhouse Heritage Centre is a single residence composed of two distinct buildings, a Georgian style house built circa 1790 by the Bulmer family and a Greek revival house, built circa 1840 by Christopher Boultenhouse. The historic house and property sit on a hill, overlooking his former shipyard just below historic Captain’s Corner, at the intersection of Queens Road and Main Street in Sackville.
Boultenhouse Heritage Centre is designated a Local Historic Place for the architectural style of the building, a single structure composed of two distinct houses, dating from circa 1790 and circa 1840. It is also recognized for the association of the site with George Bulmer, Christopher Boultenhouse and Captain Stephen Atkinson.
The early Bulmer house is located at the rear of the property, oriented to present day Dufferin Street, originally a lane that travelled from the Post Road to the wharf. The Mount Allison University Dendrochronology Lab dates this early structure to 1789-91. The wood shingled house is a 1½-story building in the Georgian style, a house of two rooms with a chimney between them. In front of the chimney is the entry with its staircase. The second floor features attic story windows.
The later Boultenhouse structure, dated by the lab to 1839-41, has been added to the Bulmer house. The new orientation of this Greek Revival House is to Queens Road, a newly constructed street in the 1840s. The front of the later symmetrical house features a Palladian window on the second floor, a door surround featuring a rectangular transom and prominent sidelights surrounding a double Christian door, and panelled pilasters. The gable end features a wide band of trim forming a triangular pediment centered with a fanlight window.
George Bulmer came from England with the Charles Dixon family as part of a major Yorkshire immigration in the 1770s. He went on to have a family of thirteen children with Susannah Dixon after having purchased a large block of land, site of much of present day Sackville. After the death of George in 1841, at the age of 82, the family dispersed the land.
Christopher Boultenhouse, together with his father, Bedford and brother William, began constructing ships as early as 1824 on the family property at Wood Point. Christopher Boultenhouse was a large landowner and his shipbuilding operations were moved to Sackville as early as 1840. The shipyard was established near the wharf at the bend of the Tantramar River. He acquired the homestead property in 1842 from the Bulmer descendants. At the different shipyards, Christopher Boultenhouse produced more than 53 vessels, ranging from small schooners like the 40-ton Ellen to the 1267-ton Empress. At the time of his death in 1876, The Chignecto Post reported that for over half a century, he had been intimately connected with the business affairs of this place, being one of the pioneers in the shipbuilding industry, and that his operations ranked among the largest of the businessmen in the country.
Captain Stephen Atkinson acquired the homestead property in 1881. He superintended the building of two ships the Robert Godfrey and the Mary E. Chapman, which he crossed the North Atlantic in many times. He finished his career by passing his steamship exam and pilot license and covered the coast from New York to the Gulf of St. Lawrence as well as master of the New York Sun dispatch boat during the Spanish American War.
The property remained in the Atkinson family until 1950 at which time the family sold the remaining homestead property to the Board of School Trustees. The homestead property became part of a much smaller lot that the Tantramar Heritage Trust acquired in 2001.
Source: Town of Sackville, Historic Places File Cabinet, Boultenhouse File
The character-defining elements that embody the heritage value of the circa 1790s George Bulmer House include:
- second floor features attic story windows;
- symmetrically placed windows and doors on 1 ½ story structure;
- wood shingle siding;
- center chimney with two rooms on main floor.
The character-defining elements that embody the heritage value of the circa 1840s Christopher Boultenhouse Heritage Centre include:
- location on Queens Road overlooking wharves and Tantramar River;
- well proportioned and symmetrical composition of structure;
- large, double-hung symmetrically placed windows, with a three part Palladian window on front facade;
- a rectangular transom with sidelights surrounding a double Christian door;
- paneled pilasters;
- wide band of trim forms triangular pediment on gable end;
- small fanlight window decorating the gable ends of the house;
- cut stone basement.