Description of Historic Place
Manuels Inn is a Gothic Revival home with Greek Revival themes constructed circa 1895 on the crest of the first hill on Croft Road in Chester Basin, Nova Scotia. The Municipal Heritage Designation applies to the building and surrounding property.
Manuels Inn is valued for its age, its historical associations with the community, and its mixture of Gothic and Greek Revival architecture. Built circa 1895 by Arthur Manuel with the assistance of men working at the local Oxner and Hennigar shipyards, the building was constructed to be both a residence and an inn.
The home operated as an inn for over fifty years by Arthur and Nettie (Cameron) Manuel. During this period Manuels Inn hosted a range of visitors including the bustling tourists common to the Chester area during the summer months at the turn of the century; miners working in the nearby Lacey Gold Mines; and men constructing railway lines for the Nova Scotia Central Railway Company (later the Central Railway Company in 1896). Following the completion of the rail line, Manuels Inn remained somewhat of a local legend for its boxed lunches. The rail workers had grown so fond of the boxed lunches provided by the Manuels that they continued to get their lunches delivered to the station when the rail became operational. In 1902 the railway was purchased by the Halifax and South Western Railway Company and became part of the company's route from Halifax to Yarmouth.
When the property was sold in 1949 to Stanley Whitford, it remained an inn for an additional three years before the property was again sold. The public nature of the property resumed from 1963-1967 when a five-to-a-dollar shop was operated from the home. Currently, the property is a private residence. Despite its many uses over the last century, its original architecture has remained intact.
The home’s original entrance was on the east elevation; however, a small porch has been added, which changes the entrance so the door opens toward Croft Road. The steep cross-gable located on the east elevation that denotes the home’s Gothic Revival theme is now hidden by several large trees growing at the foot of the crest of the hill on which the home is perched. In addition, a large ell with a low-pitched roof believed to have been constructed in the 1930s, was added to the western elevation of the original part of the home. The ell further disguises the Gothic Revival theme of the home, but does not significantly alter its original features. In 2005, a front porch was added to the home to help blend the original portion of the home together with the ell. During this renovation new windows were installed on the north side of the ell with decorative hoods made to match the original part of the home.
Both the ell and the original portion of the home show characteristics of the Greek Revival style of architecture including corner boards styled as Greek pilasters, featuring simple decorative capitals and bases. The original portion of the home also features eave returns more common to Greek Revival architecture. In addition, the home’s construction with the gabled end facing the street is more common in Greek Revival structures; however, typically these homes would have had the main entrance located on the gabled end.
The rear elevation of the home has undergone significant renovations with the addition of a screen porch to the gabled end of the original portion of the home and a sun porch extension to the rear elevation of the ell; however, the symmetry of the original portion of the home is still evident and the façade has been well preserved. The second storey windows are four-over-four with decorative hoods, while the first storey windows are nine-over-nine with matching hoods. In addition, the eave returns and Greek Revival influenced corner boards are still visible, preserving the original features of the home.
Source: Municipality of the District of Chester Heritage Property Files.
The character-defining elements of Manuels Inn that relate to its Gothic Revival architecture include:
- steep cross-gable design of original section of home located on eastern elevation facing down Croft Road;
- wide plain bargeboards on the original ridgelines and on ridgelines of ell;
- decorative window hoods over all windows on original section and window hoods on ell addition matching originals;
- symmetrical placement of windows on gabled ends featuring paired nine-over-nine windows on first storey, paired two-over-two windows on second storey and a single paned central window in peak of gable;
- wide plain frieze running under eaves topped by a simple cornice;
- two-and-one-half storey wooden shingle construction of original section of home.
The character-defining elements of Manuels Inn that relate to its Greek Revival accents include:
- decorative eave returns on the gabled ends of original section of the home;
- decorative corner boards styled as Greek pilasters with simple capitals and bases located on original section, ell, and small porch added to eastern elevation where original main entrance was located.
Other character-defining elements of Manuels Inn that relate to its architecture include:
- two-storey wooden shingle construction of ell;
- low pitch of ell;
- symmetrical design of the western elevation of original portion of ell with paired nine-over-nine windows at first storey and paired six-over-six windows on second storey;
- north elevation of ell features central six-over-six window on second storey centered over double six-over-six window and the present day main entrance, covered by a small porch.