Description of Historic Place
The George W. Clements House is a two-storey, wood construction, Italianate style house with Queen Anne Revival influenced trim elements. It is located on Prince Street, near the central business district of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Municipal heritage designation applies to the house and its residential lot.
The George W. Clements House is valued for its associations with its original owner, George W. Clements and with Percy L. Bent, within whose family the property has remained since 1920. It is also valued for its Italianate architecture with Queen Anne Revival style trim elements, which set it apart from other houses of the Italianate style.
George W. Clements had this house built in 1905 on land which was owned by his widowed mother, Harriet. He and his mother had come to Yarmouth from Westport, Digby County in 1904, Mrs. Clements having bought several lots of land in the town. When the construction of this house was completed, Clements wrote a short note, rolled it up tightly and wedged it into a corner near the fireplace and has since been found. It reads: “Yarmouth, Sept 1st, 1905. This house was built by A. W. Nowlan of Hebron, Boss Carpenter [assisted by] Israel Churchill of Pembroke Shore, W. Bain of Lakeside, Edwin Robichau of town & Isaack Amero. [Masons] Wm. Amerigan of Newfoundland & Fraser Gavel of town. House built for G. W. Clements son of Capt. Wm. E. Clements. May God’s blessing rest on the inmates of this house ever is the prayer. G. W. Clements.”
Clements did not remain long in Yarmouth. A few months after his mother’s death in 1907 he returned to Westport, though he retained ownership of this house until 1920. While he was resident in Yarmouth his occupation was given as “trader,” though little else could be discovered about him. It is know that he was an established entrepreneur in Westport who made yearly trips to Florida, often hiring Westport men as helpers while he collected his “trade goods” in the Florida everglades. Captain Clements, as he was called, was an alligator hunter well into his sixties, and a Westport character known for the amazing adventures he often recounted to local residents. He is credited with importing the first rabbits, snakes and toads from the mainland to Brier Island, though the young alligators he imported from Florida did not survive the harsh Bay of Fundy climate.
In 1920 Clements sold this property to Percy L. Bent who worked forty-two years as an express manager for Canadian Pacific Railways. Bent and his wife resided here until his death in 1965 and his widow conveyed the property to a daughter six years later. The property has remained within the same family since 1920.
The Italianate architecture of the George W. Clements House is exemplified by its truncated hip roof, two full storeys and rectangular massing. The Queen Anne Revival style elements which distinguish it include the asymmetrical two-bay façade, recessed front porch with spindlework trim, patterned shingle belt course, and cutaway bay window.
Source: Registered Heritage Property files, Town of Yarmouth, NS.
The character-defining elements of the George W. Clements House include:
- location in residential neighbourhood near central business district;
- proximity to four other registered heritage properties;
- proximity to other houses of similar scale;
- narrow setback on a modest size residential lot.
The character-defining elements of the Italianate architecture and Queen Anne Revival trim elements include:
- wood-frame construction and cladding;
- two-storey rectangular massing;
- medium pitched truncated hip roof with shed dormers centred on each side;
- asymmetrical two-bay façade;
- recessed front porch with spindlework trim;
- off-centre entrance;
- double hung sash windows with one-over-one glazing;
- cutaway bay window;
- patterned shingle belt course.