Description of Historic Place
Built circa 1770, the Quarter Deck is a located at the edge of Chester's waterfront at the corner of Queen Street and Water Lane. It is an expansive property whose Eclectic wood frame architecture makes it a landmark in the small Nova Scotia community. The Municipal Heritage Designation applies to the building and surrounding property.
The Quarter Deck is valued for its age, Eclectic architecture and historical associations. Built in circa 1770 by Simon Floyd, a mariner, the Quarter Deck was originally a Cape Cod styled home located beside one of the original public town wells, which actually still serves the home and is a contributing resource to the property's heritage value. Although the Quarter Deck is one of the older homes in Chester it has undergone extensive renovations, which have blended its architecture into a unique Eclectic style.
The original portion of the house has its ridgeline toward Queen Street and boasts a Greek Revival inspired centered pediment front porch with a recessed main entrance flanked by four pane sidelights. The porch is flanked by pairs of 6 over 6 windows on the first floor giving it a five bay facade. The upper storey of the Queen Street elevation features a large shed roof dormer, which replaced two dormers built in the first half of the twentieth century.
The original dormers are believed to have been built by J. Massey Rhind, the Scottish sculptor, who leased the home from 1925-1930. As part of his lease agreement Rhind made numerous renovations to the property, which also included the addition of the butler's pantry, serving kitchen, maid's quarters and a small bathroom. These additions are a reminder of the home's one time function as an inn and restaurant for Chester's tourists and summer residents.
While staying at the Quarter Deck, Rhind developed a love for the area and decided to design and donate the War Memorial Monument that still stands in Chester's Parade Ground today.
In the second half of the twentieth century the Quarter Deck property had its most substantial alterations completed for Canadian Rear Admiral Desmond Piers; but the careful attention to detail in completing the renovations has maintained the charm of the property. The two largest additions to the property were the car garage and guest house.
The car garage was built at the edge of the property with the car ports on the ridgeline side facing Queen Street to preserve the view plane from the home. Some of the materials used to construct the garage, such as the Palladian inspired half moon windows, were actually once part of the house itself.
The guest house, known as the "Sea Shanty", is perhaps the most interesting addition to the property. Constructed to resemble the house during the early twentieth century, it has a gabled roof with dormers on the ridgeline elevation. The guest house is connected to the Quarter Deck with a cloister, reminiscent of abbey architecture, which features a Greek Revival inspired portico on its Water Lane elevation. An additional interesting feature of the guest house is its double chimney, which runs up through the eave on the harbour side of the property forming an indoor and outdoor fireplace for the cottage.
Source: Municipality of the District of Chester Heritage Property Files.
The character-defining elements of the Quarter Deck that relate to its Eclectic architecture of the house include:
- Greek Revival inspired pediment front porch with recessed main entrance and four pane sidelights;
- 6 over 6 windows on the first floor of the original portion of the house facing Queen Street;
- return eaves on the original side gables of the house;
- shed roof dormer common in Chester with a three bay facade of paired six pane windows
- ridgeline facing Queen Street;
- moderate to steeply pitched roof;
- sun porch located on the harbour side elevation, which creates an atmosphere similar to that of a ship’s quarterdeck, which is the home's namesake.
The character-defining elements of the Quarter Deck that relate to the Eclectic architecture of the guest house include:
- cloister that connects the house and guest house with its open design toward the harbour side of the property;
- cloister's portico entrance complete with columns around a centered gate on the Water Lane side of the property;
- arched passageway through the cloister;
- gable design of the guest house featuring dormers similar to those that would have been on the Quarter Deck during the early twentieth century;
- double sided chimney that provides an outdoor and indoor fireplace that runs through the eave of the guest house on the harbour side of the property;
- return eaves.
The character-defining elements of the Quarter Deck that relate to its Eclectic architecture of the car garage include:
- moderate pitched gable roof with the gable end toward the Quarter Deck and the ridgeline facing Queen Street;
- large stone formed chimney visible from Queen Street;
- location of the car ports on Queen Street;
- 6 over 6 windows with shutters;
- Palladian inspired half moon window over the inner door to the car garage and a second window of similar design in the peak of the inner gable;
- return eaves.
The character-defining elements related to the function of the Quarter Deck include:
- the presence of a butler's pantry and serving kitchen originally designed when the house was used as an inn and restaurant in the mid-twentieth century.
The character-defining elements of the Quarter Deck that relate to its interior include:
- rounded living room wall likely built with a ship builder's steam kiln;
- low ceilings common to early Cape Cod style architecture;
- a large cooking hearth with side oven complete with crane found in later more elaborate Cape Cod homes.
An additional character-defining element of the Quarter Deck is the presence of one of the original town wells on the property.