Description of Historic Place
The Elisha Calkin House is located on Main Street in Liverpool, Nova Scotia. This two-and-a-half storey, New England Colonial style house was built in 1794. The building and property are included in the provincial designation.
The Elisha Calkin House is valued because of its successive ownership since its construction in 1794 and over a continuous period of 179 years by the interrelated families of Elisha Calkin and William Kenny. Calkin and Kenny were especially prominent in the mercantile and civic history of nineteenth century Liverpool.
Fish lots of forty-five foot widths were one of the forms of land division made in the period 1761 to 1764 by the proprietors of Liverpool. Among those lots, number 17 and parts of number 16 and number 18 form the property where the Elisha Calkin House was built. Lot 17 came into possession of Elisha Calkin and his brother-in-law and business partner, Snow Parker, in 1793. The following year, Parker conveyed full ownership to Calkin. Calkin built his house there in 1794 and lived there until his death in 1818. As well as a prominent merchant and holder of various township offices and magistrate, he was the postmaster.
Calkin's second wife, Martha, continued to reside in the house until her marriage in 1828 to the Reverend William Black, the "Father of Methodism in Nova Scotia." The Blacks resided in Halifax and Amelia, a daughter of Elisha, and her husband William Sterns occupied the house in Liverpool. The house then passed to Thomas, a son of Elisha, who was also the postmaster, treasurer of the Queens County Total Abstinence Society and one of the founders of the Queens County Friendly Society.
The next owner of the house was William Kenny who was related by marriage to the Calkins. Kenny was the first mayor of Liverpool and, as a master mariner, was one of those able sea captains that put Liverpool on the nineteenth century maritime map. The house remained in the interrelated Calkin and Kenny families until 1976.
Built in the New England Colonial style, the Elisha Calkin House has a central entrance and a five bay front façade, with windows tight to the eaves line. Various exterior details have been replaced, but in an accurate fashion, including the dentils, and, of most interest, the wooden quoining at the corners. The main part of the house is only one room deep, suggesting a kitchen wing in the original design. The existing kitchen wing appears to date from the middle of the nineteenth century.
The Elisha Calkin House sits on an attractive residential street with a number of older houses. What really differentiates it from its neighbours is the undisturbed open and wooded land from the rear of the house back to a small hill. The result is that the original semi-rural aspect of the property remains.
Source: Provincial Heritage Program property files, no. 126, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, NS.
Character-defining elements of the Elisha Calkin House relating to its New England Colonial style include:
- two-and-a-half storey wood construction;
- central entrance;
- five bay front façade;
- windows tight to the eave line;
- two inset chimneys;
- wooden quoining at the corners;
- kitchen wing addition;
- prominent location on Main Street.