Description of Historic Place
The Samuel Prescott House is a Gothic Revival home constructed circa 1811 to 1816 and is perched on a high knoll over looking Mahone Bay at the corner of Central and Pleasant streets in the small community of Chester, Nova Scotia. The Municipal Heritage Designation applies to the building and surrounding property.
The Samuel Prescott House is valued for its age; historical associations; as a good example of the Gothic Revival style with a subtle inclusion of several Greek Revival features; and for the exemplar stewardship shown in its preservation.
Built circa 1811-1816, the house is constructed on land originally owned by Jonathan Prescott, father of Samuel, who was granted the land as one of the first settlers in the township. The home remained within the Prescott family for a short period of time and was later occupied by two influential clergymen in succession, Joseph Wright and James Shreve respectively. While living in the home both men used it as a rectory, making it a common gathering place and fixture within the community.
In addition, to having associations with several lcoal influential residents, the home is valued for its architecture. Its Gothic Revival style is remarkably unchanged, especially as seen from the front elevation, where a three bay facade boasts original "12-over-12" windows, a rectangular transom, and an ornately designed cross gable featuring a modified "12-over-12" window changed to form a triangular pattern in the upper sash.
The preservation of the original house is matched by the preservationist ideology, which governed the design and construction of an addition to the house in 1992, which extended the back of the home by eight feet. The architect, Andrew Lynch of Lydon Lynch Architects, was awarded with the 1993 Nova Scotia Home Award for renovations by the Nova Scotia Department of Housing for his work. This award indicates the Prescott House is an exemplary example of a heritage property renovated to accommodate modern amenities, while preserving its historical character.
Source: Municipality of the District of Chester Heritage Property Files.
The character-defining elements of the Samuel Prescott House that relate to its Gothic Revival architecture include:
- cross gabled construction with asteep side gable and steep front gable;
- section of ornate wooden shingles in the peak of front cross gable, featuring combination of rounded shingles alternating with diamond cut shingle pattern;
- three bay facade on the front facade featuring a pair of original "12-over-12" wooden double hung windows flanking a centrally located main entrance with rectangular transom complete with 18 pane side-lights and an 8 pane transom light with a decorative hood;
- modified “12-over-12” wooden window in the front gable with the upper 12 panes reduced to 10 panes to allow the formation of a triangular window featuring a triangular hood;
- five “12-over-12” wooden windows on the side of the cross gable facing Pleasant Street;
- wooden shingle and corner board construction;
- wide plain board acting as a frieze traveling length of the front of side gable;
- symmetrical exterior design, with an asymmetrical interior layout;
- separated chimneys located at the peak of the roof.
The character-defining elements of the Samuel Prescott House that relate to its Greek Revival accents include:
- front and side gables feature ornately molded return eaves;
- outer framing of the main entrance’s rectangular transom constructed with decorative casing styled as Greek pilasters;
- corner boards of front gable are styled as Greek pilasters complete with a simple capital located below return eave leaving room for plain entablature.
Other character-defining elements of the Samuel Prescott House include:
- complimentary rear addition.