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Old Amherst Post Office

50 East Victoria Street, Amherst, Nova Scotia, B4H, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1996/01/15

Front elevation, Old Amherst Post Office, Amherst, Nova SCotia, 2006.; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2006.
Front elevation
South elevation, Old Amherst Post Office, Amherst, Nova Scotia, 2006.

; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2006.
South elevation
Clock tower, Old Amherst Post Office, Amherst, Nova Scotia, 2006.
; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2006.
Clock tower

Other Name(s)

n/a

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1884/01/01 to 1886/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/03/30

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Old Amherst Post Office is located prominently on the main street of Amherst, Nova Scotia among large, similarily constructed buildings. This Gothic Revival style building constructed between 1884-1886, was designed by Dominion Architect, Thomas Fuller. The building and property are included in the provincial designation.

Heritage Value

The Old Amherst Post Office is valued because it is one of the finest examples in Nova Scotia of the work of Thomas Fuller, a nineteenth century architect of national significance. It is also valued as a prominent architectural landmark in the Town of Amherst.

After Confederation, the Dominion Government embarked on a program of constructing numerous buildings to symbolize its authority and presence in the new nation. The office of the Dominion Architects was created in 1871, of which the most notable holder was Thomas Fuller. Fuller was an Englishman who had designed the Ottawa Parliament Buildings (1859-60), the New York State capital building, and the San Francisco City Hall, before accepting the office in 1881. Under his direction, sixty-six post offices were built in small urban centres where no such buildings had before existed. The Old Amherst Post Office is one of his designs. It was built to house the Intercolonial Railway solicitor, Customs, Internal Revenue and Weight and Measures as well as the Post Office.

This two-and-a-half storey building was built by Rhodes, Curry & Company of Amherst from red and grey sandstone quarried in Wallace. The building is stylistically very much a "Fuller" post office with its symmetrical main façade and asymmetrical side and rear elevations. The front has matching doors on either side and two rows of windows, all having the pointed arch of the Gothic Revival. The stonework is roughly surfaced with contrasting smooth mouldings. A gable and a clock tower surmount a steeply pitched roof.

The Old Amherst Post Office is one of the monumental stone institutions along the north side of Victoria Street streetscape. These buildings, built in stone with the invocation of historical architectural styles of greatness of the past, represent the zealous faith in the prosperity and future of the town.

Source: Provincial Heritage Program property files, no. 201, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, NS.

Character-Defining Elements

Character-defining elements relating to the Gothic Revival style of the Old Amherst Post Office include:

- two-and-a-half storey stone masonry structure;
- symmetrical main façade;
- asymetrical side and rear elevations;
- front matching doors;
- two rows of Gothic Revival style windows;
- nine bay façade;
- roughly surfaced stonework with contrasting smooth mouldings;
- slate hip roof with a large Gothic dormer;
- two flanking small gable roofed dormers;
- central clock tower topped with a cupola;
- decorative details include carved floral motifs, stringcourses and dentils.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Nova Scotia

Recognition Authority

Province of Nova Scotia

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act

Recognition Type

Provincially Registered Property

Recognition Date

1996/01/15

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

n/a

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation
Governing Canada
Government and Institutions
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type

Current

Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment

Historic

Government
Customs Building
Government
Office or office building
Government
Police Station
Government
Post Office
Health and Research
Clinic

Architect / Designer

Thomas Fuller

Builder

Rhodes, Curry & Company

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Provincial Heritage Program property files, no. 201, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, NS.

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

00PNS0201

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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