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James West House

2461-2463 Brunwick Street, Halifax, Nova Scotia, B3K, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1998/01/02

James T. West House, front elevation, 2004; HRM Planning and Development Services, 2004
Front elevation
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Other Name(s)

James West House
John Starr House

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/01/03

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The James West House is a two-and-a-half storey, Georgian style dwelling, outlined with contrasting white stone quoins at each of its corners. Built in 1859, the building is located on a slope overlooking the Naval Dockyards on the outskirts of Downtown Halifax, NS. The designation applies to the building and the land its lot.

Heritage Value

The James West House is valued for its association with the original owner, John Starr (1828-1909). Starr founded the Starr Manufacturing Compant Limited with his borther David Starr. The company manufactured ice skates and nails, which were sold thoughtout Canada. John Starr also developed the firm John Starr and Son Electrical Engineers. This firm was one of the first to introduce electrical lights and appliances to consumers in Atlantic Canada. The firm also designed electrical lighting systems for European cities such as London, Paris, and Marseilles. Starr was considered an industrial genius who contributed greatly to the Nova Scotian economy.

The James West House is also valued for its association is with James T. West (1814-1876) who moved into the house in 1878 and is often mistakenly thought to have been the original owner. West was the senior partner in the West firm, and was considered one of the wealthiest Haligonians of the time. The West family played an important role in the development of Brunswick Street, and their residence was a showcase for their sucess in the West Indies trade.

The house is valued architecturally as it illustrates the transition of eras through a variety of housing styles. The bellcast mansard roofline and round-headed dormers are indicative of the Second Empire style. The central doorway, with the pediment and returned eaves is evidence of the classical Georgian style. Architecturally, the James West House represents the Halifax tendancy to continue with the more traditional understated styles in what became a flamboyant Victorian era. Built in 1859 by a prominent stone mason Thomas Saunders for John Starr, Saunders used the project to showcase his talent through ornamental plastering and stucco work. Like many houses on Brunswick Street, the James West House represents the prosperity of the Halifax mercantile class.

Sources: "The John Starr House, 2461-63 Brunswick Street." Research by Irene Fennell and Elizabeth Pacey, Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia, June 1995 found in file 2461-63 Brunswick Street at Planning and Development Services.

Character-Defining Elements

Character-defining elements of the James West House include:

- Georgian style elements such as the central door-plan, with the pediment and the returned eaves are evidence of the continuation of the classical Georgian style into the Victorian era;
-Second Empire influence found in its bellcast mansard roofline on the front and back elevations, and the round-headed dormers projecting from the roof;
-brick on front and rear with stucco on both sides;
-Georgian stone quoines and a stone belt-course at the foundation;
-fenestration with multiple paned windows with entablatures above the ground floor windows on the front elevation and four of the windows on the south elevation.



Nova Scotia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (NS)

Recognition Statute

Heritage Property Act

Recognition Type

Municipally Registered Property

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land

Function - Category and Type


Single Dwelling


Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

HRM Planning and Development Services, Halifax, NS B3l 4P1, File 2461-63 Brunswick Street

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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