Description of Historic Place
George E. Ford Block is located on a piece of land near Crane’s Corner, the original downtown area of Sackville. Built in 1894, it consists of a three-story wooden building, with symmetrical two-story wings.
George E. Ford Block is designated a Local Historic Place for two reasons. First, it is one of only a few remaining wooden commercial building in Sackville when business was initiated at this site in 1894. Secondly, Ford’s Hall, situated on the second floor, played an important role in the incorporation of the Town of Sackville on January 12, 1903.
The George E. Ford Block is a good representation of wooden commercial structures from the late 1800's in Sackville. The large pediment façade, the storefront and the building's overall symmetry reflect this early style. In 1894, local merchant George E. Ford acquired a five acre lot on which he constructed the block as a department store in three sections: tailoring, dry goods and groceries. The Ford family operated this business at this location until 1947.
A meeting of ratepayers was held in February 1902 at Ford’s Hall to discuss incorporation, but in a plebiscite, the motion was defeated. The newly formed Sackville Board of Trade, supporters of the concept, and both the local papers lobbied for incorporation. The debate continued for another year. A second plebiscite was held, again at Ford’s Hall, in January 1903, with a number of voters having been won over. Incorporation was carried by a majority of 30 votes. Council elections were held with the first Mayor, Senator Josiah Wood. The first meeting of the Sackville Town Council was held on March 28, 1903. The property received recognition from the Tantramar Historic Sites Committee of the Town of Sackville in 2001.
Source: Town of Sackville, Historic Places Filing Cabinet, Ford Block File
The character-defining elements that describe the heritage value of George E. Ford Block include:
- a “grotesque” in the form of stylized lion’s head, about one foot square, in the centre of the façade just below the half-moon window;
- decorative modillions enhancing the cornice and entablature, directly above the bottom floor windows and doors;
- contrasting color used on storefront window frames, entablature and cornice;
- recessed entry ways, one in main three-story building, one in each of the two-story wings;
- windows are set symmetrically in building, half-moon on fourth floor, two narrow double hung windows on third floor, and three part window framed by narrow double hung windows on second floor, with bottom floor featuring large storefront windows ;
- some use of decorative columns outlining the three separate sections of the building;
- modern awnings, commonplace in the Victorian period, over windows.