Description of Historic Place
The Mrs. Josephine Coffin House is located in the corner of the Old Town Road and Villagedale Road, in Coffinscroft, Nova Scotia. The two storey vernacular cream coloured house has a large ell or wing to the left side, with a tall central chimney. The house, land, garage and post office (located directly across the road) are included in the in the Municipal Heritage designation.
Built in early 1840's by grantee Samuel Osborne Doane, the house was later sold to Thomas Coffin, a sea captain, shipbuilder and politician, both contributing to its heritage value. The historic place is also valued for its historic role in the community.
Samuel Osborne Doane was the great-grandson of the first Samuel Doane to settle in Barrington in 1762. Doane is attributed with building many houses in the Barrington area. This house is believed to be only one of five thought to remain standing and has changed very little since it's construction.
Following its completion, the house was sold to Thomas Coffin and his wife Sarah Doane Coffin. Sarah was the granddaughter of Samuel O. Doane. Coffin was heavily involved in politics and had several commercial interests including ship owning. From 1851 to 1855 and 1859 to 1867 he represented Shelburne County in the Provincial Legislature. In 1867 he was elected to the House of Commons and went on to serve as Receiver General in the Alexander MacKenzie Cabinet from 1873 to 1878. Coffin’s wife Sarah died before he entered federal politics and in 1871 he married Adeline Coffin. Between both marriages, Coffin had fifteen children.
At the time the house was constructed, this section of Coffinscroft was known as the main section of the community until the early twentieth century. The road that the house is located on is known as the Old Town Road and would have received a considerable amount of traffic. In the 1870s Adeline Coffin operated a general store and post office in a building located directly across the road from her home. She continued this business well into the twentieth century.
The property remains in the Coffin family; however the store and post office have been closed for many years.
Source: Municipality of the District of Barrington heritage files, Mrs. Josephine Coffin House
Character-defining elements of the Mrs. Josephine Coffin House relate to its relatively unaltered appearance and include:
- location on Old Town Road;
- vernacular style;
- two-and-one-half storeys;
- form and massing;
- large one-and-one-half storey ell;
- dormers in ell;
- front verandah;
- corner pilasters;
- wood cladding;
- gable roof of both ell and main house;
- stone foundation;
- wooden six-over-six windows;
- second storey windows located directly beneath eaves;
- all original interior elements including plaster, trim and flooring.
Other character-defining elements of the Mrs. Josephine Coffin House are;
- post office building with large storefront windows, gable roof, wood cladding and sign reading “Post Office” over main door located directly across the street from the main house;
- large garage at rear of house.