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Adams-Ritchie House

220 St. George Street, Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, B0S, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1985/02/14

Rear elevation, Adams-Ritchie House, Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, 2005.
; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2005.
Rear Elevation
Front entrance, Adams-Ritchie House, Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, 2005.
; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2005.
Front Entrance
Front elevation, Adams-Ritchie House, Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia, 2005.; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2005.
Front Elevation

Other Name(s)

Adams-Ritchie House
220 St. George Street

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1747/01/01 to 1747/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/03/09

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Adams-Ritchie House is located in the middle of Annapolis Royal's historic district on St. George Street. Built in 1747, the Adams-Ritchie House was expanded to become a two-storey structure in the late eighteenth century, and a three-storey building in the late nineteenth century. It was returned to its late eighteenth century appearance in 1980-1981. The building and land are included in the provincial designation.

Heritage Value

The Adams-Ritchie House is valued as the birthplace of John William Ritchie, a Father of Confederation, in 1808. The property where the current Adams-Ritchie House sits is also valued as being the site of the original one-storey house occupied by John Adams, who was the first prominent resident merchant in English Canada. Had this house survived the French and Indian attacks in 1745, this house would have been the oldest known building in English Canada and the oldest building in English Canada associated with government. However, there is strong evidence that parts of this original house, built in 1712-13, may have been used in the building of the current Adams-Ritchie House in 1747.

The current Adams-Ritchie House was built in 1747. After much of the house was destroyed after the French and Indian attacks in 1745, John Adams sold his house to Lieutenant John Hamilton on July 20, 1745. As dendochronolgy confirms a construction date of 1747, Hamilton likely had the one-storey house rebuilt, and may have used parts of the original 1712-1713 house. Hamilton retained the house until 1765. It passed through a number of owners until 1781 when it was bought by John Ritchie. Ritchie added a second storey to the house and this changed the appearance of the house into a typical two-storey Georgian house of the 1780s.

A Scottish born merchant, Ritchie became the patriarch of one of the most important judicial and political families in Canada. John Ritchie's son Thomas, a lawyer and member of the Assembly, used the house as both his residence and law office. It was however, Thomas Ritchie's son, John William Ritchie, born in the house in 1808, who brought fame and fortune to the family. John William was one of the founders of the Union Bank of Halifax (now the Royal Bank of Canada), a legislative councillor and provincial solicitor general. In the last capacity he took part in the crucial debates over the Confederation scheme and moved the Confederation resolutions in the Legislative Assembly. He then took part in the decisive London Conference of 1866 and after Confederation was appointed a senator; he ended his public career as Judge of Equity of the Supreme Court of Canada.

Judge Ritchie sold the house in 1872 to the King Family who turned it into a clothing store. The King family made the house into a three-storey building and a large ell was added onto the rear of the house; the whole appearance of the house was changed from Georgian to Victorian around 1882. From 1934 the house passed through many owners and was a virtually abandoned building when acquired by the Annapolis Royal Development Commission. The Adams-Ritchie House has been extensively restored and was returned to its 1785 appearance in the early 1980s.

Source: Provincial Heritage Program property files, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, NS.

Character-Defining Elements

Character-defining elements of the Adams-Ritchie House relating to its Georgian style include:

- positioning on and setback from St. George Street;
- form and massing of the building;
- symmetrical positioning of windows on front façade;
- fanlight windows over central front door and in north-east gable;
- massive timber framing;
- wattle and daub infill remaining in some of the first storey walls;
- late eighteenth century replica wooden clapboard;
- late eighteenth century replica wooden windows;
- late eighteenth century replica wooden cornerboards and watertable;
- late eighteenth century replica wooden entry door and surround.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Nova Scotia

Recognition Authority

Province of Nova Scotia

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act

Recognition Type

Provincially Registered Property

Recognition Date

1985/02/14

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

n/a

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce
Governing Canada
Politics and Political Processes

Function - Category and Type

Current

Commerce / Commercial Services
Eating or Drinking Establishment

Historic

Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building
Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment
Residence
Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer

n/a

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Provincial Heritage Program property files, no. 39, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, NS.

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

00PNS0039

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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