Description of Historic Place
Thompson House is a two-and-one-half-storey, wood structure located on Main Street, Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Situated on an elevated plot of land and set a fair distance away from the street, the house and its surrounding property, which includes several mature trees, have a regal quality. Only the building is included in the designation.
Thompson House is valued for its architectural features and for its association with its former owners, George Thompson and Leslie Raymond Fairn.
Thompson served on Wolfville’s first town council in 1893. After the town was officially incorporated in March of that year, Thompson and other councillors worked to levy taxes, allot funds to improve the condition of roads, and create town regulations and bylaws, among other tasks. He later served as mayor of Wolfville from 1897 to 1902.
Another resident of Thompson House was acclaimed architect Leslie Raymond Fairn. He lived in the house for over 35 years and during that time he supervised the construction of Acadia’s University Hall as well as many other buildings of the community such as McConnell Dining Hall, Eastern Kings Memorial Hospital, Oakes House, Acadia Hockey Rink, Vaughan Memorial Library, Beveridge Arts Centre, Huggins Science Hall, and the Town Hall. Often referred to as the dean of modern Nova Scotian architects, Fairn was a fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada and his extensive body of work can be seen throughout the Atlantic Provinces. He built every type of structure—from churches and hospitals to courthouses and jails, but he is perhaps best remembered as a mentor for aspiring architects and builders, many of whom he hired fresh from university, which allowed him to stay abreast of new trends, materials and building methods.
Architecturally, Thompson House displays features of the Italianate-style due to its low-pitched roof, symmetrical façade, Doric-style columns, frontispiece with a Palladian-derivative window on the gable, ornate bracketing detail and pedimented hoods over first floor windows.
- Town of Wolfville Heritage Property Program files, Thompson House file.
Character-defining elements of Thompson House include:
- symmetrical three-bay façade;
- low pitched roof;
- matching brick chimneys;
- clapboard siding; wide eaves supported by ornate brackets;
- wide corner boards with Doric-style columns;
- pedimented hoods over first floor windows;
- frontispiece with Palladian-derivative window on top gable;
- pedimented gable porch on Doric columns with ornate bracket detailing;
- transom window above front door.