Links and documents
1874/01/01 to 1874/12/31
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The James McKenzie House is a wood frame home situated on North Street in Halifax, Nova Scotia. It is located in a primarily working-class neighbourhood dating from the late 1800s. The municipal designation includes the building and the lot it occupies.
The James McKenzie House is valued for its association with its first owner, development of Halifax, and for its Late Victorian Plain style of architecture.
The home was built in 1874 for James McKenzie, who moved to Halifax from North Sydney between 1873 and 1874 with his wife Catherine (McInnis) McKenzie. He trained as a wheelwright and worked as such in North Sydney before moving to Halifax, where he was hired by Margeson & Son, carriage makers.
Margeson & Son began as a blacksmith shop on North Street and expanded into carriage-making in the 1860s and 1870s. McKenzie moved out of the house in 1878 upon the completion of his new home on nearby Belle Aire Terrace. McKenzie worked for Margeson & Son until 1884 when he left Halifax, possibly to seek employment in the United States or Western Canada.
The house is located on a lot that was once part of the Belle Aire Estate, the former home of the Hon. Hugh Bell. The estate was subdivided in the 1870s to meet the demand for housing lots during this period of growth for the city. The house also represents the relative prosperity of James McKenzie and other tradespeople like him, who began to take pride in their homes.
The house is a relatively early example of the Late Victorian Plain style. It is a typical example of the vernacular box-style house that was common in Halifax in the Victorian and Edwardian eras, locally called a "Halifax Box." The Halifax Box House typically has two-storeys, a nearly flat roof and minimal ornamentation suitable for tradespeople and the working classes, with whom the style was popular. The James McKenzie House also features a decorative storm porch, which was fashionable in Halifax in the 1860s and 1870s.
Source: HRM Heritage Property File: 5675 North Street
Character-defining elements of the James McKenzie House relate to its Late Victorian Plain style and include:
- two-storey wood framed structure with rectangular dimensions;
- nearly flat roof with wide overhang;
- tall basement with ironstone foundation (sections recently parged);
- wooden shingle cladding;
- decorative brackets at the cornice separated by moulded rectangular panels;
- second-storey windows flush with cornice mouldings;
- one-over-one style windows;
- wide baseboards with moulding;
- storm porch with scalloped trim under eaves, cornice brackets and front door with transom window;
- location on a narrow, urban lot with little set-back from the street;
- location in a working-class neighbourhood dating from the late 1800s.
Local Governments (NS)
Heritage Property Act
Municipally Registered Property
Theme - Category and Type
- Peopling the Land
Function - Category and Type
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
HRM Planning and Development Services, 6960 Mumford Road, Halifax, NS B3L 4P1
Cross-Reference to Collection