Description of Historic Place
The George Wright House is located on the corner of Young Avenue and Inglis Street in south end Halifax. This two-and-a-half storey, Queen Anne Revival style house was built for George Wright in 1902-03 by James Dumaresq. The building and property are included in the provincial designation.
The George Wright House is valued because it is an architectural landmark in Halifax, well demonstrating the Queen Anne Revival style. It is also valued because it is prominently associated with both George Wright and the Local Council of Women.
George Wright was born in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia in 1856. As a young man, Wright embarked on a world cruise and while in Philadelphia in 1876, conceived the idea of publishing an international trade directory. Wright's travels in Asia, Europe, the Pacific and the USA provided much material for this endeavor. By the end of the 1890s, Wright had become a wealthy and prominent member of Halifax society.
In 1896, Wright commissioned architect James Dumaresq to design the Wright building on Barrington Street, near Saint Paul's Church. A year later, Wright engaged the same architects to design and build an even larger office building within the same block. Also in 1896, Dumaresq designed a series of six large houses in the south end of Halifax for Wright, which were then built as an investment. Wright's patronage continued in 1902, when Dumaresq's firm designed his own residence, this property, on Young Avenue, completed in 1903 at a cost in excess of $5,000.
Throughout his life, Wright maintained well defined views on immorality and intemperance, and often lectured on such topics while travelling. In 1912, Wright travelled to England, and booked return passage on the Titanic, drowning when the luxury liner went down on April 15, 1912. While in England, Wright had revised his will, leaving $226,000 to worthy causes and his house on Young Avenue to the Council of Women.
The National Council of Women was founded in Canada in 1893 by the Countess of Aberdeen. In 1895, the Local Council of Women was formed in Halifax, with the same simple mandate: the betterment of women and children. During the past century, many prominent Halifax women have played active roles in this organization. The Council continues to hold meetings in the George Wright House.
The George Wright House is a remarkable example of the Queen Anne revival style. The Wright House incorporates elements of two of the four major Queen Anne subtypes: Free Classic and Half-Timbered. Details typical of the first subtype included in the Wright House are the two storey column, with Ionic capitals supporting a portico, the Palladian window over the entrance and the broken pediment over the front door. The second subtype is demonstrated in the Wright House by the stucco/half timber treatment of the gable ends and the corner towers. Another element of note is the sunroom/conservatory, stretching to the south along Young Avenue. The elaborate detailing is continued throughout the interior of the structure.
The George Wright House is a well known landmark in Halifax, and is one of the more important houses architecturally in Nova Scotia dating from this era.
Source: Provincial Heritage Program property files, no. 219, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, NS.
Character-defining elements relating to the Queen Anne Revival style of the George Wright House include:
- two-and-a-half storey wood construction;
- two storey columns, with Ionic capitals supporting a portico on the front facade;
- Palladian window over the entrance;
- broken pediment over the front door;
- stucco/half timbered gable ends;
- stucco/half timbered corner towers;
- sunroom/conservatory along the south end;
- granite foundation;
- multiple-flue chimney;
- wrought iron fencing with fleur-de-lis finials;
- prominent location on a corner lot.