Description of Historic Place
The Reverend James Smith Property is located well back from Highway 289 in a village setting in Upper Stewiacke, Nova Scotia. This one-and-a-half storey wood frame structure with its Greek Revival style detailing was built circa 1833. The adjacent wood frame barn was built around 1880 and moved to its present site about 1900. The buildings and property are included in the provincial designation.
The Reverend James Smith Property is valued for its association with the Reverend James Smith, Presbyterian Minister in the Stewiacke River Valley for forty-one years, and it is also valued for its subtle Greek Revival detailing in the front elevation and entrance design.
In 1830, the Reverend James Smith accepted the call of Stewiacke Presbyterians to be their minister. A native of Scotland, Smith was a graduate of Glasgow University and was licensed by the Glasgow Presbytery of the United Session Church in 1824. Smith came to Nova Scotia as a missionary in 1829 and a year later came to Upper Stewiacke. In his forty-one year ministry to a congregation embracing the whole of the Stewiacke River Valley, he demonstrated to the full qualities of superior scholarship and deep devotion to his calling.
The Reverend James Smith Property was likely erected shortly after Reverend Smith purchased the lot for his manse in 1833. The son of a carpenter, Smith did much of the interior work himself. He and his wife had six children. Smith named his property "Strathlorne," after his ancestral home in Perthshire, Scotland.
On Smith's death, the house passed to his son, Dr. R.B. Smith, who used it as his office and residence until 1877. In 1895, it became a hotel. Mr. and Mrs. S.A. Fulton were to be the longest serving proprietors of the Strathlorne Hotel, retiring in 1938 and leaving the house to their daughter, Mrs. Gerald Thompson. The current owner purchased the house in 1965.
The Reverend James Smith Property is a large one-and-a-half storey wood frame structure with two inset chimneys and a rear kitchen addition added in the 1930s. Of most architectural interest is the Greek Revival detailing in the front elevation and entrance design. The most obvious element is the large, projecting pediment supported by four slender columns, and corresponding pilasters on the façade. Also of interest are the small, knee windows at the second floor level, beneath the pediment. The adjoining barn was built about 1880 in Burnsides, Upper Stewiacke and moved to its present site about 1900.
Especially given its age and location, this building's exterior is not common in Nova Scotia, and is of considerable architectural importance.
Source: Provincial Heritage Program property files, no. 173, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, NS.
Exterior character-defining elements of the Reverend James Smith Property house include:
- one-and-a-half storey wood frame structure;
- two inset chimneys;
- rear kitchen addition;
- front elevation and entrance design with Greek Revival style detailing;
- large projecting pediment supported by four slender columns, and corresponding pilasters on the façade;
- doorway incorporating pilasters, which demonstrate the Greek Revival technique of entasis, triglyphs, taenia and guttae, in the frieze area, and a heavy cornice;
- small knee windows at the second floor level, beneath the pediment.
Interior character-defining elements of the Reverend James Smith Property house include:
- original kitchen with large fireplace with bake oven;
- wide board walls;
- wrought door hardware;
- ground floor rooms with chair rails, plaster dados, in some cases window panels, carpenter locks, classically detailed mantles and slate hearths;
- second storey rooms with fireplaces, wall panelling and chair railing, and some with just simple boarding.
Other character-defining elements of the Reverend James Smith Property include:
- location set back in from the road;
- wood frame barn.