An Architectural Look at OldYarmouth
"The Western Gateway Of Nova Scotia"

 Yarmouth Homes

 

Parade Street, is located in the the centre of Yarmouth. Once one of the showiest streets of the town, Parade Street has changed drastically.  The mansion known as Brookside, located, as it was,  beside the stream on Parade Street, was demolished. The handsome Yarmouth Academy was lost to fire.  Other  fine homes were converted to apartments  and are hardly recognizable today from their modern counterparts..
 
The Lovitt House
The Lovitt House, 10 Parade Street.
This house was built in 1862 by John Lovitt. The house was an classic example of the Georgian style. In 1891 a huge three story glass and wood tower was added. The tower was and still is used as a greenhouse. The house is two 1/2 stories high with small tooth like wood work around the eaves. This is one of Yarmouth's best known landmarks. Next door to this house is a fine example of Italian architecture, the house is well preserved.
The Yarmouth Academy
The Yarmouth Academy, Parade Street.

Captain John Killam Ryerson built this magnificent $35,000 home on Parade Street in 1869, importing all the furnishings from England and France.  Designed by a European architect, the house contained 36 rooms and its spacious halls and broad staircase were finished in oak, walnut and chestnut.  Two men were brought from England to do the fine paneling.  The house and its equally handsome outbuildings stood on vast landscaped grounds.  Capt. Ryerson , who went to sea at an early age, was a successful businessman and head of Ryerson, Moses & Co. He served as Yarmouth's elected representative to the first local Assembly formed after Confederation.  He died December 19, 1890.  In 1898 the home was purchased by the School Commission for a mere $8,000 and became the Yarmouth County Academy.  On February 20, 1949, the school caught fire and, as the news spread, many current and former students gathered in horror to watch it burn to the ground.
 

Vancouver Street is located in Milton, or North Yarmouth. Even though many of the beautiful residences are gone,  the street continues to display Yarmouth's historic beauty.   Sadly though, as with Parade Street,   homes too large for modern living were converted into apartments and their character changed.  One such mansion, Fir Banks, was destroyed.  Another lost its gingerbread trim,  and its summer kitchen and carriage house are no more. Still, a visit to Vancouver Street rewards the walker with fine views of the harbour and a glimpse of Yarmouth's distinguished past.
 
 

Hillside
"Hillside", 33 Vancouver Street.

The grand house known as "Hillside" was built in 1897 by W. L. Lovitt.   In the Queen Anne Revival style, the house has many interesting architectural features, including a conical tower, covered porches of wood and stone, and  beautiful stained-glass windows.  The Lovitt family of shipowners, whose ancestor, Andrew Lovitt, was one of the early grantees of the town, have contributed several outstanding landmarks to Yarmouth, including the centrepiece of the Lakelawn Motel in Milton, the George and Mary (Lovitt) Guest house, and the Captain John Lovitt home on 10 Parade Street.

The Fir Banks

"Fir Banks", 31 Vancouver Street.

Situated among other stately homes on Vancouver Street, Fir Banks was built by Robert Caie in 1869, sometime after his marriage to Matilda Chandler.   The three-story  manor boasted spacious landscaped grounds, a circular drive, outbuildings and an overflowing greenhouse.  It was ornate,  down to such details as decorative moldings and carvings over the windows and gracefully curved dormers.   A carved wood and stained-glass area on the second floor was a later addition.  The enclosed widow's walk gave views far down the harbour.  Following the death of her parents, Miss Clara Caie  lived on alone in the house until her own demise.   In the early 1960s this house, one of Yarmouth's finest examples of the high Victorian period, was demolished to make way for a more modern home.  Sic transit gloria  mundi!

The Stayley Brown House

The Stayley Brown House, 12 Vancouver Street

This lovely Italianate home, situated at #12 Vancouver Street,  was built in 1864 by a wealthy merchant and ship owner who was an outspoken opponent of Confederation.   The Honourable Stayley Brown served in the Legislature for 34 years, was president of the Nova Scotia Executive Council, held the post of Receiver-General, and in 1875 became the Provincial Treasurer.  In the 1990s the house was vacant and had been extensively damaged by fire.   It was saved from certain doom when the Dares family purchased it in 1995 and restored it to its original stately condition.  In 1997 it was declared a Municipal and Provincial Heritage Property.  It is open year-round by the Dares as the Harbour's Edge Bed & Breakfast.


Home of "the Fuller Brush Man"

Edward B. Cann, a merchant who operated a clothing store at the corner of Main and Central Streets, built this stately home between 1890 and 1895.  The home, located at 20 Collins Street, , was later owned by the Bown and Pelton family but was better known in the Twentieth Century as the summer residence of Primrose (Pelton) and Alfred Fuller the Annapolis Valley native who started the Fuller Brush Company.  In 1996 the home and its contents were donated to the Yarmouth County Historical Society and today it opens seasonally to the public as a heritage home exhibit, focusing on the Pelton and Fuller families and the Fuller Brush Company.


The John Murray Lawson Residence

Standing on William Street, this home was built in 1898 by J. Murray Lawson, whose father, Alexander, established the Yarmouth Herald in 1833.   The house is described as having "a nautical flare", though the Lawsons were not followers of the sea.   Murray became editor of "The Herald" upon his father's death in 1895, a position he held until his own death in 1925. Even when the newspaper changed ownership, Miss Laura Lawson, Murray's daughter,  continued to take a lively interest in its operation and was a regular visitor to the site up to the 50s.  The Lawson legacy of journalism has served Yarmouth well.   Today the collection of newspapers and reference works compiled by Murray form the cornerstone of the Yarmouth County Museum Archives and are used by researchers on a daily basis.