Description of Historic Place
Croix Crest is a wooden two-storey Georgian Revival residence with a 5-bay front façade, a central entry, a veranda with an upper balcony, and an overhanging hipped roof. The property was built in 1925 on Mary Street in the Town of St. Andrews.
Croix Crest is designated a Local Historic Place for its architecture, for its association with its past occupants and for being a contributing element to the array of heritage buildings in the Town of St. Andrews.
Croix Crest is recognized as an excellent example of the high style of summer residences built in St. Andrews during the early 20th century. Its style also reflects the prosperity of the ‘Roaring 20’s’, in the years before the Great Depression. Built strictly as a summer home in 1925, the building has no foundation and was never insulated. It has a raised central entry with large sidelights and a 5-bay front façade. The property has a full-width veranda with an upper balcony, which overlooked the gardens on the property, as well as St. Andrews Harbour. The underside of the roof is lined with exposed rafter tails, an element borrowed from the Craftsman style that was popular in St. Andrews during this period.
Croix Crest is also recognized for its association with its past occupants. This residence was originally built for author, poet and barrister, Norman Gregor Guthrie. Mr. Guthrie was an Ottawa lawyer who specialized in corporate law, often representing the Canadian National Railway. Born in 1876 in Guelph, Ontario, Mr. Guthrie a highly respected lawyer who also wrote poetry under the pseudonym of “John Crichton”. His poetry books include: A Vista (1921), Flower and Flame (1924), Pillar of Smoke (1925), Flake and Petal (1928). He published a book on the works of Archibald Lampman in 1927, establishing himself as a fine critic. Mr. Guthrie was president of the St. Andrews Society in Ottawa from 1911 to 1914. He was a knowledgeable gardener and ornithologist and had a great variety of irises on the grounds of Croix Crest. Many of these irises were grown from bulbs given to him by the Experimental Farm in Ottawa for testing in the Maritime climate. He also planted the lilac hedge that separates the property from Mary Street. Unfortunately Mr. Guthrie passed away unexpectedly of pneumonia four years after the construction of this home in 1929. His widow summered here for a few years and rented the property out before selling the home to widow Sarah Smith from Waterbury, Connecticut in 1937.
Mrs. Smith was extremely wealthy as her father owned the Mueller Brass Works in Waterbury, Connecticut while her husband operated the steel mines there. Despite being on her own, she shared the home with a cook, a houseman and, being a diabetic, she had a live in nurse. Her chauffeurs lived in nearby buildings. Sarah and her sister purchased many properties throughout southern New Brunswick, Schroon Lake, New York and maintained two large properties in Waterbury. She helped many young artists and potters and was good friends with Kjeld and Erica Deichmann and enjoyed their pottery.
Croix Crest is also recognized for being a contributing element to the array of heritage buildings in St. Andrews. St. Andrews has one of the best collections per capita of heritage buildings in Canada that range from the early thriving loyalist days of the late 1700’s to the Maxwell designed homes of the town’s early tourism era in the late 1800’s, early 1900’s. Much credit is due to the inhabitants of the town for maintaining this collection and preserving the town’s serene and relaxed atmosphere.
Source: Charlotte County Archives, Old Gaol, St. Andrews, N.B.
The character-defining elements that describe Croix Crest include:
- rectangular two-story massing;
- hipped roof with exposed rafter tails;
- balustraded full-width veranda with an upper balcony, each with five Doric columns aligned vertically;
- 5-bay front façade with raised central entranceway;
- large sidelights in entranceway;
- wood shingle cladding;
- 6/6 wood framed windows;
- window placement and proportions;
- historic gardens.