Description of Historic Place
The Fuller House is a two storey Italianate style house of wood construction, which was built around 1892 and which has several uncommon architectural elements. It is located on Collins Street in the Collins Heritage Conservation District in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Heritage designation applies to the building and the residential lot it occupies.
The Fuller House is primarily valued for its historical associations with Alfred C. Fuller, “the Fuller Brush Man”, who owned this property from 1938 until 1965, and with his wife, Mary Primrose (Pelton) Fuller who donated the property and most of its contents to the Yarmouth County Historical Society in 1996. It is also valued for its Italianate architecture and the unique elements which distinguish it from other houses of the same style.
The Fuller House was built around 1892 for Edward B. Cann, a very successful merchant tailor who owned a popular clothing business on Main Street in Yarmouth for many years. In 1910 Mr. Cann sold the property to Eliza Bown, wife of Thomas Bown, a customs official, within whose family it remained until 1996. The Bowns deeded the property to their daughter, Susan, wife of Judge Charles Pelton, in March of 1938, just two months before Judge Pelton passed away. The property was again sold, almost immediately thereafter, to Alfred C. Fuller, the Pelton’s son-in-law, its most notable owner. Although Mr. Fuller was owner of the home, Susan Pelton continued to reside here until her death in 1965, after which the Fullers continued to use it as a summer home for the remainder of their lives.
Alfred C. Fuller was born January 13, 1885 in Welsford, Kings County, Nova Scotia, the eleventh of twelve children. In 1903 at age 18 he went to “the Boston States” (an Atlantic Canadian term for New England) and resided for a time with one of his sisters in Massachusetts. Some time after going to work for a brush maker he decided that brushes could be made better and with different designs for specific applications. He began designing and manufacturing his own brushes and in 1906, with an investment of $375.00, set up his own company. By 1919 the company’s profit was over one million dollars and it continued to escalate over the years. The Fuller Brush Company remained in the Fuller family’s hands until 1969 when it merged with Consolidated Foods Inc.
Alfred Fuller and Mary Pelton, a Yarmouth native, had married in 1932 and resided during their married life in West Hartford, Connecticut. They were frequent visitors to Yarmouth, visiting Mary Fuller’s mother during the remainder of her life, and then as summer residents in the family home for many years. Alfred Fuller passed away on Dec. 4, 1973, but his widow continued to spend summers here until 1994, when ill health precluded further visits. She held the Yarmouth County Historical Society and Museum in very high esteem and had informed the Society that it was her intention to bequeath the home to them upon her death. In 1996, however, she decided to transfer the property to the Society, and on May 17, 1996 that transfer was officially made in a ceremony held at the Yarmouth County Museum. This very generous donation also included approximately 85% of the contents of the house, including furniture, knick-knacks and other memorabilia, as well as funding to refinish the exterior and update the heating system. Mrs. Fuller passed away on October 24, 1997 in Hartford, Connecticut, but her gift to Yarmouth will keep her memory alive for many years to come. The home now serves as a showcase for the Yarmouth County Historical Society’s vast collection of Victorian furniture, clothing and other artefacts in a proper setting, a late Victorian family home.
The Italianate architecture of the Fuller House is typified in its two full stories, low pitched hip roof with wide bracketed eaves and its double hung sash windows with decorative bracketed crowns. The asymmetrical massing, full height projections on east and west sides and balustrades crowning the cutaway bay window and the front porch roof are elements not commonly found on Italianate style houses.
Source: Registered Heritage Property files, Town of Yarmouth, NS.
The character-defining elements of the Fuller House include its:
- location in the Collins Heritage Conservation District, near the central business district;
– proximity to other houses of similar scale;
- proximity to four other registered heritage properties;
- large residential lot;
- shallow setback from street;
- collection of Victorian furniture, clothing and other artefacts.
The character-defining elements of the Italianate style of the Fuller House include:
- two full stories;
- wood construction and cladding;
- asymmetrical massing;
- low pitched hip roof;
- paired brackets in eaves;
- hip roofed dormers on south and east sides;
- cross-gabled, full height projections on the west and east sides;
- pedimented gables on projections;
- cutaway bay windows in the first storey of east side and the upper storey of the facade;
- shallow front entry porch with columns supporting roof;
- balustrades on roof of porch and cutaway bay window on the east side;
- double hung sash windows with bracketed crowns;
- corner pilasters, and frieze-board trim;
- brick foundation.