Description of Historic Place
Springhurst is located on Highway 215 in Maitland, Hants County, Nova Scotia. Springhurst is the name of the main house as well as the name of the entire property, which includes the Putnam-Frieze House and a carriage house. The main house, a two-and-a-half storey wooden Picturesque style structure, was built in 1870. The house faces the highway while backing onto the Shubenacadie River. These buildings and the surrounding property are included in the provincial designation.
The main house at Springhurst is valued as it is an excellent example of the Picturesque style with its fine exterior and decorative interior woodwork. Springhurst is also valued because throughout the career of its first owner, Alfred Putnam, it symbolized the shipbuilding era in the second half of the nineteenth century in Maitland.
Alfred Putnam built Springhurst in 1870. By then, Putnam was already launched on a highly successful shipbuilding and business career. In all, Putnam was to send to sea a total of sixteen ships, mostly built on the shore adjoining Springhurst.
In his business career, Putnam served as President and Director of many companies. From 1874 to 1878, Putnam sat for Hants County in the Nova Scotia Assembly. In 1887, Putnam ran successfully for the House of Commons, holding his seat until 1896.
Springhurst was built in the Picturesque style and is quite striking with its high three- gable front. This two-and-a-half storey wooden house was built by the firms of Harris Reid and Sons and Sumner, Serval, Anderson, Vincent of East Noel. Springhurst was built with the then new central heating system, a coal furnace and hot water pipes covered by iron grillwork. The ironwork was brought over from England on the same ship as the Italian marble tops for the fireplaces. In the central hallway of Springhurst, at the base of the arch, are two pineapple carvings believed to have been carved by J.S. Shaw, carver of figureheads for Maitland-built ships. The main house has been carefully restored with a rear addition added later on. As well, there is an attached wooden barn serving the working farmstead.
Also located on the Springhurst property is the Putnam-Frieze House, which was moved from its original site in Maitland to the Springhurst property in the early 1990s.
The Putnam-Frieze House was originally located on a 500 acre grant owned by William Putnam on the south-west side of the Shubenacadie River in Maitland. William was granted this land in 1770. Over the years, William's son Caleb, sold or mortgaged part of this grant and in 1809, he mortgaged 200 acres, with all the houses, barns and stable buildings. The supposition is that this mortgage is for the Putnam-Frieze House. The Putnam-Frieze House likely dates from the late eighteenth century and was presumably erected by Caleb Putnam or possibly his father, William. In all probability, the Putnam-Frieze House is the oldest house in Maitland.
In 1850, Caleb Putnam makes a will, directing that his house and barns be sold and the proceeds divided among his sons, Robert, John, Alexander and Augustus. A son of Augustus, Alfred, is the builder of Springhurst. By 1871, The house was
occupied by Frederick Frieze, a blacksmith.
The Putnam-Frieze House is a two-and-a-half storey, wood frame building, with a slightly pitched gable roof and central chimney. The building's exterior incorporates two Greek Revival style elements, the placement of the front entrance in the gable elevation, and the detailing of this entrance with fluted pilasters and entablature with dentils. The remainder of the exterior is relatively simple, with wood shingle cladding and 6/6 windows arranged in atypical locations within the elevation.
Putnam-Frieze sat empty for many years and was intended for demolition. The owners of Springhurst came forward with a proposal to move the Putnam-Frieze House to the Springhurst property. The Putnam-Frieze House is now located back further than the main house on the Springhurst property facing the Shubenacadie River. It is in close proximity to the wooden carriage house.
Springhurst and the Putnam-Frieze House are located on a working farmstead with a kitchen garden and surrounded by an orchard.
Source: Provincial Heritage Program property files, no. 104, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, NS.
Character-defining elements relating to the Picturesque style of the main house at Springhurst include:
- building form and massing;
- two-and-a-half storey wood construction;
- steeply pitched gable roof with three high gables on the front elevation;
- two symmetrically placed central chimneys;
- central heating system with a coal furnace and hot water pipes covered by an ornamental iron grillwork, depicting animals and flowers;
- marble-topped fireplaces;
- two pineapple carvings at the base of the arch in the central hallway;
- one-storey wooden addition in the rear of the main building;
- wooden barn addition in the rear of the one-storey wooden addition.
Character-defining elements relating to the Greek Revival style of the Putnam-Frieze House include:
- two-and-a-half-storey wood construction;
- wood shingle cladding;
- slightly pitched gable roof;
- central chimney;
- placement of the front entrance in the gable elevation, detailed with fluted pilasters and entablature with dentils;
- 6/6 windows arranged in atypical locations within the elevation;
- wooden carriage house.
Character-defining elements of the Springhurst and Putnam-Frieze property include:
- all elements relating to its use as a working farmstead;
- kitchen garden;
- orchard surrounding the houses.