Description of Historic Place
Located on the main street running through the Town of Pictou, Nova Scotia, The Consulate is a two and a half storey, Georgian style, symmetrical, three bay facade, stone building. The Consulate is located close to the sidewalk, with the shorter facade of the building facing the road. The main entrance, adorned with a transom, is situated off centre to the right on the side of the house facing the road. At the opposite end, the building over looks the harbour.
As stated in its municipal designation the building and the surrounding land are included in the designation.
The heritage value of The Consulate, as recognized in its municipal designation, is for its association with George Smith and its physical location.
George Smith was a leading Pictou County merchant and politician. In 1819, George Smith inherited the largest mercantile business in the country from his late father-in-law, Edward Mortimer. Smith also inherited Mortimer's seat in the Provincial Legislative Assembly.
The Consulate was built on what is now known as the Pictou harbour. Its location allowed the building to be used as both a private residence and a business premises. Smith ran the trading business he inherited from his father-in-law directly from this harbourside location. The property also housed the American Consulate in Pictou during the second half of the nineteenth century, illustrating the prominence of the Port of Pictou during this period.
Both the siting and the plan of the house are unusual. The building sits adjacent to the street edge, despite the large lot. The typical plan of the building would call for the main entrance to be located on the longer side of the building. However, with The Consulate the main entrance is located on the width of the building. The main entrance, which is also placed off centre, on the width of the building is atypical of a large Georgian house, due to the fact the main entrance is typically located in a symmetrical fashion on one of the elongated facades.
Source: Inventory Site Form 30.02.00043, Nova Scotia Department of Culture, Recreation & Fitness.
Character-defining elements of The Consulate include:
-two over two windows;
-two chimneys east slope, steeply pitched hipped roof;
-sandstone construction with quoins;
-large two storey verandah addition to the rear elevation;
-siting and plan of the building, sited adjacent to the street edge, despite the large lot and the rectangular plan with the main entrance on the width of the building;
-location on the Pictou waterfront.
Character-defining elements of the Georgian style of the Consulate include:
-symmetrical three bay facade;
-Scottish dormers, two on the west side, one on the north and one on the south;
-graceful fanlight over the doorway, contrasting with the simple and largely unadorned exterior.