Description of Historic Place
Built circa 1905, the Chester Train Station was a full service Mackenzie and Mann station that formed part of their Halifax and Southwestern Railway Company at the beginning of the twentieth century. Its wide roof overhangs provided shelter over the decking that at one time wrapped around the building and the roof supports' decorative design are matched in intricacy by the varying rooflines and numerous dormers adorning the building, making it an obvious landmark in the community. The Municipal Heritage Designation applies to the station, freight shed, and surrounding property.
The Chester Train Station is valued for its age, original function, construction and continued use as a public building.
The Chester Train Station was built circa 1905 to service the Halifax and Southwestern Railway Company, built by William Mackenzie and Donald Mann who owned railway compainies across Canada. The service this lined provided was an integral part of the transportation network between the rural Nova Scotian communities on the province’s south western shore.
The station, at its height of operations, included a wraparound loading deck, which continued across the yard to the additional freight shed common to full service stations. A water tower and coal shed were also once present at the site, but they were removed before the turn of the twenty-first century.
The station and freight shed share a similar wooden construction style with exceptionally wide eaves supported by large curved wooden braces, which include a decorative scroll pattern on their lower abutment. The major difference being that the freight shed is much simpler in design. It has an uninterrupted hipped roof and minimal window space, as the interior would have been illuminated by daylight when the large freight doors on both sides of the building were open.
In contrast, the station’s hipped roof features a second raised hipped roof in the centre of the building. This upper hipped roof features a steeply pitched gable with the gabled end facing the front and rear elevations respectively. In addition, this upper hipped roof is flanked by small gambrel roofed dormers on the front and rear elevations. The two side elevations of the main roof both feature a single gambrel roof dormer, consisting of the same size and style as those on the front and rear elevations.
In addition to the station's unique symmetrical roofline, the rest of the building’s exterior is also symmetrical across the axis of its length with the exception of an additional exterior door on the front elevation. One of the most noticeable features of this symmetrical design is the presence of a large double door freight entrance topped with a seven pane transom window on front and rear elevations of the station.
Although the tracks have been removed and the sound of the steam engine’s whistle no longer echoes through the station, it continues to be used as a public building in the community. It is now operated by the Chester Municipal Heritage Society and houses their office as well as the Chamber of Commerce and Tourist Visitor Information service for the area.
Source: Municipality of the District of Chester Heritage Property Files, Chester Train Station
The character-defining elements of the Chester Train Station relate to its original use and include:
- original form and massing;
- wide eaves supported by large curved wooden braces with a decorative scroll pattern on their lower abutment;
- hipped roof;
- second central raised hipped roof;
- steeply pitched gable in middle of raised hipped roof with gabled ends facing front and rear elevations;
- gambrel roofed dormers flanking raised hipped roof on front and rear elevations;
- single gambrel roofed dormers on side elevations of main hipped roof;
- large double door freight entrance with a seven-pane transom window on front and rear elevations;
- symmetrical design, with exception of an additional entrance on front elevation;
- wooden shingle construction.
The character-defining elements of the freight shed relate to its original use and include:
- wide eaves supported by large curved wooden braces with decorative scroll pattern;
- hipped roof;
- two large double freight doors;
- wooden construction;
- proximity to station building.