Description of Historic Place
DeWolf House is a two-and-one-half storey wooden home located on Main Street, in Wolfville, Nova Scotia. The large home is situated on a property dotted with mature trees and is positioned very close to the road. Only the building is included in the designation.
DeWolf House is valued for its age, its association to the DeWolf family and former owner Watson Kirkconnell, and for its architectural features.
One of Wolfville's earliest homes, DeWolf House was built by farmer and merchant Stephen Brown DeWolf, around 1801. Son of local wealthy merchant Edward DeWolf, and a grandson to Wolfville founder Nathan DeWolf, Stephen was a merchant-cum-farmer. His property originally included 15 acres of dykeland and 75 acres of upland/woodland, but he steadily sold off much of it over the years.
Stephen inherited his father’s store and expanded it considerably and eventually built a new store and house for his family. In 1834, he sold the home and surrounding property to his son Dwight for just 15 pounds. However, the land, called “Stony Farm,” wasn’t very productive. The southern portion of the property was bare bedrock, but Dwight persevered and managed to farm there for 53 years, grazing cattle and growing hay on the dykelands.
However, tragedy struck the DeWolf household in June 1879 when Dwight’s son, Dr. Albert DeWolf, shot and killed his wife, Bessie Harris, as she walked down Main Street. The incident stunned the community and Albert was arrested for the murder but hanged himself in his cell while awaiting trial. The DeWolf family’s church, St. John’s Anglican, refused to bury Albert, so he was laid to rest in an orchard behind a small farm worker’s home on the DeWolf property.
Watson Kirkconnell bought the home just before retiring in 1963 after completing 42 years of college work, 16 of those as president of Acadia University. An administrator, author and linguist, he was a well-respected citizen in both university and town circles. During his retirement, Kirkconnell was a prominent member of the Wolfville Historical Society and published many books on community heritage and architecture.
Architecturally, DeWolf House showcases Neo-Classical and Classic Revival influences. The Neo-Classical elements include the home’s symmetrical façade and the simple detailing of its cornice. Classic Revival influence is showcased in the front verandah with its Doric columns.
- Town of Wolfville Heritage Property Program files, DeWolf House file.
Character-defining elements of DeWolf House include:
- house situated close to road;
- steep-pitched truncated roof;
- symmetrical three-bay façade;
- clapboard siding;
- boxed cornice with frieze;
- returning eaves;
- front verandah with Classic Revival style Doric columns;
- two double bay windows on eastern side.