Description of Historic Place
The Joseph Sleeth House is a one-and-a-half storey Gothic Revival style house of wood construction built around 1865-66. It is located on a modest sized lot at the corner of Alma and Carleton Streets, within the Collins Heritage Conservation District in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Municipal heritage designation applies to the house and its residential lot.
The Joseph Sleeth House is valued for its historical connections with its original owner, Joseph Sleeth, and with three generations of the Sanderson family who owned it between 1883 and 1925. It is also valued for its Gothic Revival architecture and the less usual elements which distinguish it from other houses of the style.
Joseph Sleeth apparently had this house built around late 1865 to early 1866. He was a well known blacksmith at that time, a partner in the blacksmithing firm of Sleeth & Crowell. As far as can be determined he continued the blacksmithing trade until around 1890, when he became a deputy sheriff and the town jail keeper.
The property had two other owners between 1869 and 1883 when it was purchased by Capt. Gilbert Sanderson who was a locally prominent business man involved in many aspects of maritime affairs including insurance and fisheries supplies, as well as being a ship owner and shareholder in Commercial Wharf.
Capt. Sanderson sold the property to his son, George G. Sanderson in 1893. G.G. Sanderson was also engaged in maritime affairs, particularly in shipping and the insurance business. He was elected to Municipal Council for the Township of Yarmouth in 1882 and served as Warden from 1886 to 1888. When the Town of Yarmouth was incorporated in 1890, he was a member of the first Town Council, serving in that capacity for a further four years. Although George G. Sanderson did not live here, but rented the property to a tenant, he did retain ownership of it until 1916, when it was deeded to his son, Claude L. Sanderson.
Claude L Sanderson also retained ownership of the rented property from 1916 until 1925. He was one of Yarmouth’s best known barristers, and was often referred to as “the Dean of Yarmouth barristers”. He’d earned his LLB degree from Dalhousie University in 1905 and practised law in Yarmouth for nearly sixty years. During that time he served on the Council of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society and also served for many years as Solicitor for the Town of Yarmouth. He was actively involved in a number of local organizations during his lifetime and died in 1965, a well respected man.
The Gothic Revival architecture of the Joseph Sleeth House is exemplified in its one-and-a-half storey wood construction and its steeply pitched gable roof and cross gables. It is somewhat unusual in that it is not symmetrically built and has a one storey cutaway bay window as well as an enclosed entry porch in the front facade, which is in a gable end of the house.
Source: Registered Heritage Property files, Town of Yarmouth, NS.
The character-defining elements of the context and location of the Joseph Sleeth House include:
- its location within the Collins Heritage Conservation District near the downtown area;
- its proximity to other houses of similar scale;
- its modest size residential corner lot.
The character-defining elements of the Gothic Revival style architecture of the Joseph Sleeth House include:
- rectangular massing;
- wood frame construction and cladding;
- steep gable roof with paired cross gables on the north side;
- lower, centred one-and-a-half storey back ell;
- principal entrance in an enclosed porch in front gable end;
- double hung sash windows with simple gabled crowns;
- one storey cutaway bay window in facade;
- asymmetrical two bay facade.