Description of Historic Place
The Bower is a two-storey residence located on a large lot south of Rogers Drive in Halifax, Nova Scotia. The house, originally designed in the Neo-Classical style, was altered in the 1860s with a decided Second Empire influence. It was once the main house of a much larger country estate in what is now the South End neighbourhood of Halifax. The designation includes the building and the lot it occupies.
The Bower is valued for its association with three prominent Halifax citizens. Constructed circa 1790, its first owner was John Halliburton, a Loyalist surgeon from Rhode Island. Halliburton's son, Sir Brenton Halliburton, used the house as his summer home while maintaining a city residence on Morris Street. Sir Brenton Halliburton held numerous influential government appointments including: Judge of the Supreme Court; Assistant Judge to the Supreme Court; Master of Chancery; and Chief Justice and member of the governing council. In his position as Chief Justice he presided over the famed 1835 libel trial of newspaper publisher Joseph Howe. He was knighted in 1859. After his death in 1860, the property was sold to James C. Cogswell, a prominent local banker.
The house is also valued for its architecture. Now a stately residence, The Bower was originally constructed as a low, one-storey Neo-Classical house with a steeply pitched roof. Sir Brenton Halliburton added a library wing to the west side during his ownership. An early example of renovation, James Cogswell made major changes to the property after he took ownership in 1860. His alterations in the Second Empire style included a mansard roof, dormer windows, and heavy brackets under the eaves, enhancing the character of the residence to better reflect his social standing.
The nearby Bower Road is named after the property, which was originally a much larger country estate that was subdivided and sold for housing lots in 1954.
Source: HRM Heritage Property File: 5918 Rogers Drive, The Bower, found at HRM Planning and Development Services, 6960 Mumford Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Character-defining elements relating to the original Neo-Classical design of The Bower include:
- dimensions of the footprint of the original circa 1790 house;
- eight-over-twelve wooden windows on the east elevation first storey;
- central placement of the entrance on the front facade.
Character-defining elements relating to later Second Empire influences on the building include:
- mansard roof with slight bell curve on front and rear elevations and gambrel ends on side elevations;
- chimney design with corbelling and chimney pots;
- wooden clapboard and shingle cladding;
- paired double-hung, two-over-two, wooden windows on the front facade;
- dormers in the Second Empire style with curved window hoods, paired wooden windows with slightly rounded tops;
- bellcast-shaped central projection with narrow window dormer over front entrance porch;
- decorative elements including: large brackets under eaves, window hoods, eave returns, oblong moulded panels under the eaves;
- wide wooden corner boards, baseboards, and fascia boards;
- later additions to the house including the library and kitchen wings;
- location on remainder of land originally belonging to the Bower Estate.