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Brown House

242 Main Street, Wolfville, Nova Scotia, B4P, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1989/04/18

front elevation, Brown House, Wolfville, NS, 2006; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2006
front elevation
side elevation, Brown House, Wolfville, NS, 2006; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2006
side elevation
front door detail, Brown House, Wolfville, NS, 2006; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2006
front door detail

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/02/19

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Brown House is a two-and-one-half storey wooden home located on Main Street, in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. Situated fairly close to the road, the simplistically elegant house has a north-facing view of Wolfville’s dykelands, which extend to the Bay of Fundy and then on to Cape Blomidon. Only the building is included in the designation.

Heritage Value

Brown House is valued for its association to its former owners, Dr. Edward L. Brown and John Barss, and for its architectural features.

John Barss lived in this home for three years, from 1857 to 1860. A shipbuilder and banker, he is perhaps best known for giving a significant donation to Acadia University when it faced financial ruin in 1850. He also provided half of the funds to build Wolfville Baptist Church, where he later served as deacon.

Following Barss, Dr. Edward L. Brown lived in the home for 20 years, until 1882. An early healthcare pioneer in Wolfville and the surrounding community, Dr. Brown was a physician and operated an apothecary shop during the mid- to late-19th century, at a time when sanitation conditions in the town were very poor. Beyond his work as a physician, he was also active in politics and served as a Member of Parliament in Ottawa.

Architecturally, Brown House has undergone many alterations over the years, which makes it difficult to determine its original architectural style. In the 1920s, a significant addition on the western side of the home was undertaken to accommodate a nursing home. That addition aside, the main body of the home suggests that it was originally built in the New England Colonial (or Neo-Classical) style, much like some other homes of similar age in Wolfville, including Randall House, which is located nearby. Its Neo-Classical details include the symmetry of the main home and the transom and sidelights on the front door. The home also exhibits Classical Revival details such as the elaborate cornice below the roof line and the Doric-style pilasters on the corner boards and the Doric pillars on either side of the front door.

- Town of Wolfville Heritage Property Program files, Brown House file.

Character-Defining Elements

Character-defining elements of Brown House include:

- house situated close to road;
- truncated medium-pitched roof;
- symmetrical five-bay façade;
- clapboard siding;
- elaborate cornice with Doric-style pilasters on corner boards;
- gable ends completed by cornice to form triangular pediments;
- enclosed front porch with central entranceway;
- transom with multiple sidelights on front door;
- Doric-style pillars on either side of front door and Classic-Revival fret motif above it.



Nova Scotia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (NS)

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act

Recognition Type

Municipally Registered Property

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Function - Category and Type



Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Inventory Site Form found at Planning and Development Services, Town of Wolfville, 200 Dykeland Street, Wolfville, NS B4P 1A2

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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