Description of Historic Place
The Taffrail Cottage located on Queen Street is one of the oldest homes in Chester, Nova Scotia, built circa 1780. The home has had numerous additions over its history, but its Georgian Cottage style architecture is still evident. The Municipal Heritage Designation applies to the building and surrounding property.
The Taffrail Cottage is valued for its age, architectural style, and method of construction. Built circa 1780, Taffrail is one of the oldest homes in Chester, and its Georgian Cottage style architecture is reminiscent of one of the earliest architectural styles to be adopted in Nova Scotia- the plain Cottage style. This Georgian Cottage style home is larger than the first Cottage style homes built in the province, featuring both a larger ground and 1 1/2 storey floor, which boast two upper windows in the gabled ends rather than the single window common in earlier examples of the Cottage style.
The central main entrance of the home is common to early Cottage style homes; however, the addition of decorative ornamentation, including four tiered sidelights with a panel bottom, is a departure from the earliest Cottage style homes. This modification combined with the 6 over 6 windows on the ground floor and the ridgeline peak of the original gable denote the move toward a more pronounced Neo-Classical Georgian style, originating in the Cottage style.
The additions to the home include a large gabled piece that meets the back portion of the original gable and running in a parallel direction. Initially built in the mid-twentieth century the piece accommodated a doctor's office for thirty years, making the home somewhat of a landmark in the community. Both of the major gabled portions of the home boast shed roof dormers on the ridgeline side of the gables, allowing for a full upper storey in each part of the home. The original gable has also had its front ridgeline extended with a low small bellcast roof covering a ground floor open verandah shielding it from the setting sun, as common in Tidewater style homes.
Another cross gabled addition has also been made to the home on its rear elevation of the original gable on its northeast corner. This addition, features wooden shingles and return eaves and blends in with the home not affecting its original Cottage style, both additions compliment the style by demonstrating its attention to function with the addition of simple symmetrical pieces to the home.
The original architecture of the home although altered is still readily apparent on the exterior of the home and is equally identifiable on the interior. The home still features a large hearth-style cook space and oven, original door surrounds, wrought door hardware and tool marks on floor joists indicating the wooden beams were sawn by an "up and down" or sash mill.
Source: Municipality of the District of Chester Heritage Property Files.
The character-defining elements of Taffrail Cottage that relate to its Georgian Cottage style architecture include:
- moderate pitch original gable roof with ridgeline toward the street;
- central chimney;
- central doorway with four tiered sidelights and a panel bottom flanked by two pairs of 6 over 6 windows;
- pair of 6 over 6 windows in the peak of the original gable roof.
Additional exterior character-defining elements of Taffrail Cottage include:
- shed roof dormers on the front and rear elevations of both major gables;
- cross gabled addition on north-east corners with return eaves;
- ground floor open veranda with a low bellcast roof.
The character-defining elements that relate to Taffrail Cottage's construction include:
- wooden shingle and cornerboards;
- granite foundation;
- sawn "up and down" or sash-made joists bearing distinctive tool marks.
The character-defining elements of Taffrail Cottage that relate to its interior include:
- hearth-style cook space and oven;
- original door surrounds;
- wrought door hardware.