Description of Historic Place
Cole Harbour Heritage Farm consists of six structures including the Giles and Settle-Harris Houses. It is located on the south-west corner of where Poplar Drive meets Otago Drive in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The parcel of farmland is nestled on a hill overlooking a pond and a well-developed commercial area along Cole Harbour Road. The six buildings and property are included in the provincial designation.
Cole Harbour Heritage Farm is located in a very busy and commercial section of Cole Harbour that was once a mainly agricultural area. The farm is the only remaining structural evidence of that history. Cole Harbour Heritage Farm includes four outbuilding structures and two farm houses that together are valued for their association with rural life and early settlers of Cole Harbour.
The outbuildings include three barns and a blacksmith shop. The Main Barn or Settle Barn, named for the Settle family who were the original owners of the property, is valued as a good example of an English style barn and features three bays framed by timber and it is built into the slope of the land. It is believed to date from the 1860s.
The Small Barn or Market Barn has had many uses over its lengthy lifetime. It was used to house livestock as well as provide storage for the large market garden business that served Halifax and area. The barn is valued for its cold-storage room which is considered to be one of the first in Cole Harbour.
The Crib Barn was built in the early nineteenth century and is valued for its unusual style. It features hand-hewn framework covered in large three foot shingles.
The Blacksmith Shop (or former Horse Barn) was constructed in the nineteenth century and has served many uses including livestock barn, carriages and tractor storage and of course a blacksmith shop, which is its current function. The roof shows evidence of where it has been cut and raised to accommodate larger machinery.
The property also includes two farmhouses. The Giles House is currently part of the farm and is considered to be one of the oldest buildings in Cole Harbour. The house is believed to have been built between 1790 and 1804 on a hundred acre parcel of land purchased by Joseph Giles in 1789. Giles moved to Cole Harbour from the United States in 1786 and was one of the earliest settlers of Cole Harbour. The land remained in the Giles family for two hundred years until 1972 when it was purchased by Nova Scotia Housing Commission. The modest farm house was moved to the Cole Harbour Farm in 1976 to save it from demolition. Architecturally, the Giles House is valued as a one-and-one-half storey prefabricated Cape Cod style dwelling built with horizontal slotted logs with a central chimney. In the 1890s it was converted to a Saltbox style house with the extension on the back and the roof line altered. The house is also valued for its representations of different time periods and the evolution of construction techniques.
The Harris House is the original homestead of Robert Settle Sr., who was also one of the earliest settlers to the area. Settle owned approximately 125 acres of agricultural land. The Settle family owned the house and property from 1843 to 1972 when it was sold to Stuart Harris. Architecturally, the Harris House is valued as an attractive two storey Gothic Revival style dwelling with two large cross gable dormers with pointed windows. The house has a central chimney and doorway. Harris House also features a veranda that has been converted into a tearoom.
The Farm is now a museum and is open to the public. There is also a main garden with a selection of vegetables, herbs and flowers and a small kitchen garden beside Giles House. Livestock is kept in the Settle Barn. The livestock component fluctuates according to life cycles, season, age, health, the state of finances and personnel.
Source: Provincial Heritage Program property files, no. 34, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, NS.
Character-defining elements of the Cole Harbour Heritage Farm include:
- close proximinty of agricultural buildings located around a central farm yard space;
- operating farm with livestock;
- its role as an anchor within the surrounding urban neighbourhood;
- building materials of wood shingles and hand hewn beams;
- main garden with a selection of vegetables, herbs and flowers;
- small kitchen garden beside Giles House.
Character-defining elements of the Settle (Main) Barn, Market (Small) Barn, Crib Barn, and the Blacksmith Shop (former Horse Barn) include:
- wood framing;
- barn has been built into the side of a slope (Settle Barn);
- hand hewn craftsmanship;
- oversized wood shingles;
- cold storage room (Market Barn);
- all original and historic elements related to their agricultural and blacksmith functions.
Character-defining elements of the Giles House include:
- one-and-one-half storeys;
- prefabricated wooden frame;
- elements related to both the Cape Cod and Saltbox styles;
- horizontal slotted logs;
- all original and historic interior elements related to evolution of floor plan;
- steeply pitched gable roof;
- central chimney.
Character-defining elements of the Settle-Harris House relate to its Gothic Revival style and include:
- cross gable dormers;
- pointed windows;
- central chimney;
- triangle-shaped window to fit roofline.