Description of Historic Place
The Jost House is located in the historic north end of Charlotte Street in Sydney. This two-storey wood framed house with its low pitch roof was built circa 1786. Jost House is currently operating as a museum and is one of four museums located in the historic north end. The building and property are included in the designation.
Jost House is valued as it is one of the oldest surviving building in Sydney and because it architecturally demonstrates two centuries of architectural history.
Built around 1786 during the founding and Loyalist settlement of Sydney, it is one of the oldest residential buildings in the city. The house was originally constructed in the Neo-classical style as a one-and one-half storey house with a gable roof and two dormer windows on the front facade. The building retains many original elements such as six-over-six double hung windows and surrounds, and clapboard siding which remains on the first storey and on the original north and south gable end sections of the second storey.
This house has been extensively remodeled over time to its present appearance. In 1900, the second storey of the building was remodeled in the late Victorian Plain style when the gable roof was raised to increase the number of bedrooms with the addition of a low pitch roof, two-over-two double hung windows and surrounds, and was clad in shingles. The interior of the house retains its original wood trim and doors with hardware and the original floors on the first storey. The house also has two original chimneys, the west one situated halfway to the west end wall containing three fireplaces, one of which is a cooking fireplace with beehive oven in the basement, and the east one situated half way to east end wall with one fireplace. The building is a good example of how the Neo-classical Loyalist house evolved in Sydney through renovations and alterations over the last two centuries.
The house is named for merchant Thomas Jost, who purchased the house in 1836. The Josts were an important Halifax/Sydney mercantile family. Thomas was the grandson of George Jost, a locksmith from Wittenburg, Germany who came with the foreign Protestants to Halifax in 1750, and who became a Halifax-based merchant with extensive business interests in Sydney. He imported goods from England and Scotland and sold them in both places. Thomas established a general store in the southeast corner room of his house on Charlotte Street which he operated until 1850, when he built a new store behind the house to the west side. Jost contributed greatly to the economic and social history of Sydney. The Jost House remained in the Jost family until 1971.
The Old Sydney Society took possession of the house in 1991. Since then it has been restored and opened as a museum.
The Jost House is one of the oldest surviving building in Sydney and its history illustrates an important evolutionary theme of the change in Sydney's historic north end, from commercial through the marriage of commercial-residential to purely residential properties.
Source: Provincial Heritage Program property files, no. 189, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, NS.
Character-defining elements of the exterior of Jost House include:
- close proximity to the street;
- full rubblestone foundation;
- two-storey, wood frame structure;
- all Neo-classical elements including 6/6 six windows and surrounds, and clapboard on first storey and on the original second storey gable end sections of north and south facades, and the gable roof and two dormer windows on the front facade;
- all late Victorian Plain style elements including low pitched roof, 2/2 double hung windows and surrounds, and shingle cladding on second storey.
Character-defining elements of the interior of Jost House include:
- wood trim and doors with original hardware on first storey;
- original wood floors on first storey;
- original chimneys, the west one situated halfway to the west end wall containing three fireplaces, one with cooking fireplace and beehive oven in basement, and the east one situated halfway to the end wall with one fireplace;
- all original structual elements.