Description of Historic Place
The Sangster Inn is located on Sangster Bridge Road overlooking the Avon River in Falmouth, Nova Scotia. This two-and-a-half storey wood frame house was an early resting place for travellers en route from Halifax to Annapolis Royal. Also located on the property is a remaining wood frame barn used when the Inn was engaged in farming. The buildings and property are included in the provincial designation.
Sangster Inn is valued because of its use as a well known inn in the first part of the nineteenth century on the old road from Halifax to Annapolis Royal. It is also valued for remaining in continuous possession of the descendants of John Sangster.
John Sangster, born in Scotland, purchased a number of farm lots on the road from Windsor to Horton Township, overlooking the Avon River ferry crossing in 1800. Later that same year Sangster received a license to keep a "House of entertainment for the accomodation of travellers." Whether this house was on the site before Sangster purchased his lots or he had it built is unknown. Evident exterior features of the Inn support a late eighteenth century date of construction.
John Sangster held the office of the Overseer of the Poor in 1803 and in 1807 he was listed as Sheep Inspector. He was named one of the first school trustees under the School Act of 1811.
From the 1790s it was possible, road conditions allowing, to go by carriage from Halifax to Annapolis Royal, along the Old Horton Road; most travellers, however, would have walked, ridden or gone by cart as there were few carriages. The travellers' route was from Halifax to Windsor, then across, "Sangster Bridge," the first bridge over the Avon River built in 1802 and then on to Horton Township across the South Mountain.
The Inn became a well known stop over for Halifax stage coaches. When the Windsor Bridge was built further down the Avon River in 1837, the stages no longer used the Old Horton Road; this resulted in the closing of the Inn in 1838.
When John Sangster died in 1833, the property went to his son James. James continued to use part on the Inn as a tavern while engaging in farming. In the 1847 provincial election that ushered in responsible government, Falmouth Township sent James Sangster as a reformer and supporter of Joseph Howe to the Assembly. After James Sangster's death in 1866, the house went to his sister Susan (Sangster) Smith, who, however, died two years later so probably never lived in the house. She passed it on to her son John Sangster Smith. The house to this day, has remained in the continuous possession of a descendant of John Sangster.
This two-and-a-half storey wood frame house has a gable roof with a large central chimney. Also located on the property is a remaining wood frame barn used when the Inn was engaged in farming.
Source: Provincial Heritage Program property files, no. 148. 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, NS.
Character-defining elements of Sangster Inn include:
- two-and-a-half storey, wood frame structure;
- gable roof;
- large central chimney;
- five bay front elevation;
- entrance porch with sidelights and fanlight;
- decorative corner-board detailing, with finely moulded capitals;
- wood frame barn with gable roof and two full length lean-to extensions;
- position overlooking the river.