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McCulloch House

86 Haliburton Road, Pictou, Nova Scotia, B0K, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1983/03/11

Rear and side elevations showing porch addition, McCulloch House, Pictou, NS, 2004.; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2004.
Rear Elevation
McCulloch House, Pictou, NS, front elevation, 2004.; Heritage Division, NS Dept. of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2004.
Front Elevation
McCulloch House, Pictou, side elevation, 2004.; Heritage Division, NS Dept. Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 2004.
Side Elevation

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1806/01/01 to 1806/12/31

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/07/11

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Located on a generous and gently sloping lot in the Town of Pictou, Nova Scotia, McCulloch House is a three-storey brick house built in the lowland Scottish style, with sandstone accents and a gambrel roof. Included in its provincial designation are both the building and surrounding grounds.

Heritage Value

McCulloch House is valued for its association with Rev. Thomas McCulloch, its lowland Scottish style architecture, and its age.

Rev. Thomas McCulloch was one of Pictou’s most famous citizens. McCulloch, a Presbyterian minister, writer, and teacher, arrived in Pictou in 1803 with his family, emigrating from Scotland. Circa 1806 McCulloch built a one-and-a-half -storey brick home, similar to those he had known in Scotland. Not long after arriving in Pictou, McCulloch opened a school on this property, boarding some children in his modest home. Soon he built a log classroom on the property, teaching students from as far away as the West Indies. McCulloch was a firm believer in liberal and non-sectarian education and boys from a variety of backgrounds were welcomed at the school. Despite local backlash to McCulloch’s style of education, including the burning of the log school, McCulloch continued to teach and went on to found Pictou Academy where he taught until 1838 when he was appointed the first president of Dalhousie University, a non-sectarian university founded by the lieutenant-governor at Halifax. His tireless work in education earned McCulloch the reputation of being the father of liberal education in Nova Scotia.

McCulloch House is one of the oldest buildings in Pictou County and among the oldest brick buildings in Nova Scotia. The original form of the house, similar to a lowland cottage, was a direct reflection of McCulloch’s Scottish heritage. The one-and-a-half storey cottage was set on top of a knoll, facing Pictou Harbour. Circa 1890 a gambrel roof and dormer were added, greatly altering the appearance of the house; adding to its distinct apperance and providing additional space for residents. However the first storey has remained relatively unchanged from McCulloch’s time, and the original roof line is still visible on either end of the house.

Presently the house is open seasonally to the public as the McCulloch House museum.

Source: Provincial Heritage Property File no. 5.

Character-Defining Elements

Character-defining elements of McCulloch House relate to its lowland Scottish style architecture and include:

- building form and massing;
- brick building materials;
- gambrel roof and three dormers on front and rear elevations;
- all evidence of original pedimented gable roof;
- sandstone used in the quoins, windows and door trims thought to be imported from Scotland;
- original and historic carvings of the pine interior wood trim;
- large oak door and transom;
- original and historic interior woodwork and paneling;
- 6-over-6 wooden windows on main floor;
- wood shingle roof;
- location on knoll facing Pictou Harbour.



Nova Scotia

Recognition Authority

Province of Nova Scotia

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act

Recognition Type

Provincially Registered Property

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Learning and the Arts
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design
Peopling the Land

Function - Category and Type




Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Provincial Registry found at Heritage Property Program, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, NS B3H 3A6

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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