The Haunted House
The Century House
The Robie Street Palace
Links and documents
1840/01/01 to 1840/12/31
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Caldwell-Hill House is a one-and-a-half storey Greek Revival style house located on Robie Street in Halifax, Nova Scotia. For decades this has been one of the most famous houses in Halifax because of the rarity of style and the folklore surrounding a painted window. Originally, Caldwell-Hill House was situated on a spacious estate which included the whole block it now shares with other buildings. The heritage designation applies to the building and the land it occupies.
Caldwell-Hill House is valued for its association with its architect, original occupant and folklore.
The house is named for Henry G. Hill and William Caldwell. Hill was the architect of the house who also designed the old Garrison Church (no longer extant). He had David Calder build the dwelling in 1840 for William Caldwell. Caldwell was the first elected mayor of Halifax in 1851. Caldwell-Hill House has also been referred to as "The Century House" because of its age and "The Robie Street Palace" because of its original estate size.
Caldwell-Hill House is also valued for its folkloric importance to Halifax. The house is also known as "The Haunted House" because of a window painted black window and the many legends that surround it. One story involves an old man who looked through the window one day and saw witches dancing on the veranda. The witches caught him watching them dance and turned the window black. Another story involves the occupant of the house who shot a young boy through the window. The window turned black in mourning. In actuality the window was painted black to maintain classical symmetry of the Greek Revival style.
Architecturally, Caldwell-Hill House is valued as an excellent example of the Greek Revival style. The house is considered to be the only residential unit in Halifax that adheres to strict Greek Revival elements. It is a one-and-a-half storey wood frame constructed house that has paid attention to classical proportions and detail typical of the Greek Revival style. The house has a wide veranda on three sides that is covered. The roof is supported by four Doric columns on each side. To maintain window balance on the south side where a sliding glass door is located, a window has been painted on the side of the house for uniformity. Caldwell-Hill House also features a Scottish dormer on each side of the house which is not a typical Greek Revival element but a common architectural feature of Halifax houses.
Source: Heritage Property File: 1714 Robie Street, Caldwell-Hill House
The character-defining elements of the Caldwell-Hill House relate to its Greek Revival style and include:
- classical three bay balance;
- four Doric columns on each side;
- three sided veranda;
- flat top hip roof with four sides;
- facia detail in veranda header.
Other character-defining elements of Caldwell-Hill House include:
- Scottish dormers;
- blind window on south elevation;
- four chimneys.
Local Governments (NS)
Heritage Property Act
Municipally Registered Property
Theme - Category and Type
- Peopling the Land
Function - Category and Type
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Henry G. Hill
Location of Supporting Documentation
HRM Planning and Development Services, 6960 Mumford Road, Halifax, NS B3L 4P1
Cross-Reference to Collection