Description of Historic Place
The Ensign Nickerson House is a one-and-a-half storey Gothic Revival style house of wood construction, built circa 1862 for Ensign Nickerson. It is located within the Collins Heritage Conservation District, set well back on a large lot at the northeast corner of Alma Street and Clements Street in Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. Municipal heritage designation applies to the building and the residential lot it occupies.
The Ensign Nickerson House is valued for its historical associations with Nathan Moses, William C. Rowe, and with the Anna and William Harding family. It is also valued for its Gothic Revival architecture.
This Gothic Revival style house was built circa 1862 for Ensign Nickerson, a mariner, who only owned the property for about five years before removing to Massachusetts. He sold it in 1867 to Nathan Moses, who was one of the leading ship owners in Yarmouth from 1842 to 1875 and who was elected in 1855 as a member of provincial legislature, representing the Township of Yarmouth. During Moses’s lifetime he was also very involved in his community, at various times holding the position of Justice of the Peace, member of the Board of Management for the school committee of Yarmouth Seminary, member of the Boards of Directors of Mountain Cemetery and of the Yarmouth Gas-Light Company.
William C. Rowe purchased this property in 1882 from a trustee appointed by Nathan Moses. He was born in Sydney, Nova Scotia, son of Rev. John Rowe, and as a young man trained as a machinist and later became a marine engineer. He earned a Chief Engineers ticket and worked for many years with the Yarmouth Steamship Company, serving on various ships including the ‘SS Boston.’ Later, he worked for the Mallory shipping line, which sailed between New York and southern ports. He died on June 30, 1924 and his widow sold the property to William and Anna Harding in September of that year.
In 1924 Anna and William L. Harding purchased the property. The couple came to Yarmouth from St. John, New Brunswick in 1890 and Anna became active in a number of community organizations including the I. O. D. E., the Hospital Ladies Aid Society and Zion Baptist Church. William L. Harding had purchased the I. H. Goudey crockery shop on Main Street, which was renamed W. L. Harding’s at the time, and which continued in business until the early 1980s. During the Harding’s ownership of the shop, it became one of the largest retail and wholesale crockery businesses in the province.
The Gothic Revival architecture of the Ensign Nickerson House is typified in its one-and-a-half storey wood construction and its centred front cross gable. The veranda on the facade is believed to have been added in the 1940s, but its spindle-work trim adds a picturesque touch to an otherwise plain house.
Source: Registered Heritage Property files, Town of Yarmouth, NS.
The character-defining elements of the Ensign Nickerson House include:
- location in the Collins Heritage Conservation District, near the main business district;
- generous setback on a large corner lot;
- proximity to other houses of similar scale.
The character-defining elements of the Gothic Revival architecture of the Ensign Nickerson House include:
- one-and-a-half storey wood construction and cladding;
- lower one-and-a-half storey off-centre back ell;
- medium pitched gable roof with steeply pitched, centred, front cross gable;
- double-hung sash windows with simple crowns;
- one-storey cutaway bay window on south side;
- full width, partially enclosed front veranda with spindle-work trim;
- asymmetrical three-bay facade with off-centre entrance.