Description of Historic Place
Built circa 1839 the Countway Mosher home is a Georgian style residence with Victorian themes located in Middle River, Nova Scotia adjacent to the community of Chester Basin. The Municipal Heritage Designation applies to the residence and surrounding property.
The Countway Mosher Home is valued for its age, historical associations and architecture.
The home was constructed as a multiple dwelling (double house) by two brothers, Francais and John Countway circa 1839. The home’s double house construction is unique to this area and most rural areas of Nova Scotia. This form is more common in urban areas, although they are not numerous. The Countway brothers were a farmer and cooper respectively. The ornate design of the home, featuring elements such as transom windows and sidelights, indicate the men were successful in their chosen occupations. The home was most likely constructed as a double house to allow the brothers and their families to live close to one another, and was probably financially beneficial. The Countway brothers married sisters from nearby Heckman’s Island, and the families were well known in the area.
The side of the home that belonged to Francais and his wife Sophia (Heckman) remained with their descendants until 1975. In contrast, the portion of the home that belonged to John and Amelia (Heckman) was sold to the Mosher family in 1874 and was owned by members of the Mosher family until 1968. In 1977 this portion of the home was purchased by the same person that purchased Francais and Sophia’s half of the home in 1975 and consolidated the two sections of the building.
Although numerous additions have been made to the home, most have been done in keeping with the style of the original building. The original home consisted of a single gabled roof and a double main entrance facing the main road that passes through Middle River. The double entrance consists of a pair of panel doors flanked by twinned seven-pane sidelight windows. Each door has a seven-pane transom window over it that meet at a central frame. The main entrance forms part of a five bay façade, with paired six-over-six windows on each side. Directly opposite the main entrance on the rear elevation is another entrance; however this entrance now boasts a single door and is flanked by two-over-two sidelights with panelled bottoms. The rear elevation of the original gable is also a five bay façade, with paired six-over-six windows flanking the entrance.
On each of the gabled ends of the original home a smaller gable wing was added. These wings are identical, preserving the symmetry of the home. Both additions feature six-over-six windows on the ridgeline sides and large bay windows located on the gabled end with small two-over-two windows located above them. The gable extension on the eastern end of the home has also had a small cross-gable addition. However, a similar addition was not made to the western portion of the home. The cross-gable addition was designed to blend in with the rest of the home and features six-over-six windows and return eaves that match those found elsewhere on the home, preserving its architectural style.
Source: Municipality of the District of Chester Heritage Property Files.
The character-defining elements of the Countway Mosher House that relate to its Georgian style include:
- symmetrical design of the main building and wings;
- five bay façade on front elevation of the main portion with a centered double doorway flanked by paired six-over-six windows;
- centered double doorway on front elevation of main section of building topped by double seven-pane transom windows separated by a central frame and with double columns of seven-pane sidelights on each side of doorway;
- main entrance consisting of double panelled doors;
- modest eave overhang on main portion;
- moderate pitch roof;
- gable roof on main portion;
- modest eave overhang on each wing;
- moderate pitch roof on wings;
- six-over-six windows on ridgeline of wings;
- bay window on wings topped by two-over-two windows near the peak of the gable roof maintaining overall symmetry.
The character-defining elements of the Countway Mosher home that relate to its Victorian architecture include:
- plain corner boards;
- return eaves;
- clad in wooden shingles;
- wide plain bargeboard and frieze along all eaves.
The other character-defining elements of the Countway Mosher home include:
- one-and-one-half storey construction;
- main entrance facing road.