Description of Historic Place
The Richard Williams Jr. House was built around 1797 and enlarged around 1860 by John Durland. It is a one-and-a-half storey Gothic Revival style house located in the community of Milton Highlands, near the town of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia. The municipal heritage designation applies to the land and the building.
The Richard Williams Jr. House is valued for its associations with Richard Williams Jr., a farmer, and with John Durland, a carpenter. It is also valued for its original pre-1800 Vernacular architecture, and for its later Gothic Revival architecture, which were common evolutions for many local farm houses.
The original Vernacular style section of this house, which is now the back ell, was built around 1797 for, and probably by, Richard Williams Jr., a noted farmer in this area known especially for his courtesy and hospitality. The farm house was well situated near a river, convenient for travel and the transport of goods in the early days of settlement before many roads were built, and also close to several other necessary facilities, such as a grist mill and a saw mill at the head of Yarmouth Harbour. Mr. Williams and his wife lived here for over sixty years before selling the property, just twelve days before Mr. Williams’ death.
John Durland, a carpenter bought the property in 1860 and shortly thereafter added what is now the main front section of the house. It may also have been constructed in the Vernacular style originally, but at some point during his ownership the cross gables were added, breaking the eaves lines on the façade and south sides and transforming it into the then fashionable Gothic Revival style apparent today.
The Gothic Revival style of architecture of the Richard Williams Jr. House is typified by the symmetrical façade, the cross gables and the medium pitched roof.
Source: Municpal Heritage Property files: Richard Williams Jr. House; located at 400 Main Street, Yarmouth, NS
The character-defining elements of the Richard Williams Jr. House include:
- rural setting;
- proximity to a river and Yarmouth Harbour;
- setback from the road;
- residential use.
The character-defining elements of the Vernacular and the Gothic Revival architecture of the Richard Williams Jr. House include:
- one-and-a-half storey back ell;
- steeply pitched gable roof;
- centred front cross gable breaking the eaves;
- paired off-centre chimneys;
- gabled roof with no verge overhang on ell;
- cross gable breaking the eaves on south side of ell;
- inset chimney in ell;
- double hung sash windows with six-over-six glazing and simple bracketed crowns;
- symmetrical three bay façade;
- centred front entrance with sidelights and a heavy, bracketed crown;
- wood construction;
- façade clad with clapboards and remainder clad with shingles;
- corner-board, frieze-board and base-board trim.