Colchester Heritage Sites

"In 1980, the government of Nova Scotia passed the Heritage Property Act in order to help identify, protect and rehabilitate built heritage of historic, architectural and cultural significance and to encourage the continued use of this resource." (nslegislature.ca)

Starting in 1997, the County of Colchester began designating Municipal Heritage Properties. Today, there are fourteen such properties within Colchester County.

Several other properties have been named Provincial Heritage Sites, such as the Balmoral Grist Mill and St. James United Church in Great Village. There are many other sites which have the potential to become Heritage Sites within the County.

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Since 1997, the Municipality of Colchester has designated 14 Municipal Heritage Properties within Colchester County:
Note: each of the following bulleted items will link to their respective anchors further down the page

Municipal Heritage Properties

Greenfield United Church of Canada

1578 Greenfield Road, Greenfield
Registration Date: January 30th, 1997

greenfield churchErected in 1888 and dedicated in 1889, the church is more than 130 years old. This wood frame construction building was the only church in the community of Greenfield and was one of the original buildings in the community. It was established as a Union Church to serve both Presbyterians and Methodists on alternating Sundays, but became part of the United Church of Canada in 1925. The church closed in 2019 and was sold into private ownership. The Greenfield Cemetery associated with this church is located down the road.

Isgonish Marsh Burying Grounds Association

Marsh Road, Belmont
Registration Date: January 30th, 1997

isgonish marshIsgonish Marsh is the site of the burying grounds of the first settlers in the district of the Londonderry Township. The gravestones on site date from the 1790s to the 1890s, making the burying grounds more than 210 years old. Approximately 35 people were buried on this property, however, it is thought that there are many more unmarked graves. The gravestones include family names still common in the community, such as Crowe, Barnhill, Wilson, Peppard and Graham. In 1987, the Isgonish Marsh Burying Grounds Association was formed to restore the site, which had become run down and overgrown.

Stewiacke valley Museum

5445 Highway 289, Upper Stewiacke
Registration Date: January 30th, 1997

stewiacke valley museumThe museum was built with wood frame construction in 1886, making it one of the oldest in Upper Stewiacke. Originally used as a community hall up until the 1980s, the building has been used by the community frequently for the past 100 years.

Visit the Stewiacke Valley Museum on Facebook

West New Annan United Church

1128 Warwick Mountain Road, West New Annan
Registration Date: February 27th, 1997

west new annan united churchThe church was designed by Robert Ward McCombie with Gothic type construction and built in 1890 by William Carruthers. Dedicated in February of 1891, the building was originally going to be a Presbyterian church. The church closed in December of 2011 and has found new life as a community-owned meeting place, now called the West New Annan Heritage House.

Visit the Society on Facebook

Springside United Church

7072 Highway 289, Eastville
Registration Date: January 30th, 1997

springside united churchBuilt in 1857 by John Crockett, the church opened in 1858 and was dedicated in February of 1859. The plans for the church were made by Rev. Dr. James Smith, who was a Presbyterian Minister in the Stewiacke Valley for 41 years. When the church closed on September 30, 2019, it was the oldest church building in the Stewiacke Valley and one of the oldest churches in the Truro Presbytery. The Springside Community Centre Association purchased the former church and adjoining hall in January of 2020, with the mandate to preserve the heritage buildings and expand on their community’s infrastructure by operating a free-standing community centre.

Visit the Springside Community Centre Association on Facebook

The J.M. Blaikie House

8 Wharf Road, Great Village
Registration Date: January 27th, 2000

blaikie houseThis 3 storey, 23 room Victorian house was built between 1867 and 1874 in Great Village. It has a wood frame construction and the features demonstrate details from Gothic and Queen Ann Revival periods. The exterior and interior of the house demonstrate the grand style of living in the Age of Sail in Great Village’s Heritage.

John M. Blaikie, the builder and original owner, was known for his involvement in ship building. A ship he had an interest in, the “John M. Blaikie,” was the first of only two four-masted schooners ever built in Canada. The works of German artisan Peter Gottschall adorn the walls and floors, as he lived there from 1936 to 1937. From 1957 to 1992, the house was used as a nursing home and today it is a bed & breakfast.

Eastville Cemetery

Highway 326, Eastville
Registration Date: September 28th, 2000

eastville cemeteryThe cemetery was originally a family burial ground, on part of a farm belonging to Charles Cox, which began in 1856 in Upper Stewiacke. The nearest church to the cemetery is the Springfield United Church which is another registered Municipal Heritage Property. This former family burial ground has now evolved into a community cemetery.

Eastville Schoolhouse

18 Harrison Road, Eastville
Registration Date: September 25th, 2003

eastville schoolhouseThe schoolhouse was constructed in 1876 with a wood frame in “Classic Greek Revival,” an architectural style that became popular around 1830, and continued to be widely used into the first decade of the twentieth century.

Judging by a small exposed area of wall, the building appears to be post and beam construction, a framing technique that was commonly used for many types of buildings until the latter part of the nineteenth century. The school was moved 50 to 75 feet onto a concrete block foundation during the late 1940s, around the same time roads in the area were realigned.

The exterior of the building is original in all respects, including traditional cedar shingles, except for the steel roofing that replaced wooden shakes or shingles. For the interior, wall board has replaced either plaster or wood wall surfaces and a centrally located stove has been replaced with a modern heating system.
Grades one through 12 were taught at the Eastville School until 1950, when the South Colchester High School opened in Brookfield. Today, the school is used as a community hall.

Wilson Schoolhouse

909 Balmoral Road, Central New Annan
Registration Date: September 25th, 2003

wilson schoolhouseThe wood frame schoolhouse was built in 1890 by George Kennedy and Robert Wilson and was named after David Wilson who leased the land out for one cent a year. The building is “Classic Greek Revival,” an architectural style that became popular around 1830, and continued to be widely used into the first decade of the twentieth century.

Grades one through 12 were taught at the Wilson School until 1950, when the North Colchester High School opened in Tatamagouche. Grades primary to six continued to be taught at the schoolhouse until 1966, when the school closed.

The area of Central New Annan is associated with Anna Swan Bates, Canada’s famed giantess who attended school in the area for ten years. A statue of Anna Bates, erected in 1977, now sits adjacent the Wilson school.

Intercolonial Railway Station (Train Station Inn)

21 Station Road, Tatamagouche
Registration Date: May 2006

train station inn 2The Intercolonial Railway constructed its "Short Line" from Oxford Junction to Stellarton through Tatamagouche in 1887. The ICR commissioned the Rhodes Curry Company of Amherst to build a passenger station in the village immediately east of the creamery. The ICR was merged into the Canadian National Railways in 1918, and CN operated this line as part of its "Oxford Subdivision," servicing mainly agricultural communities, as well as the salt mines at Malagash and Pugwash as well as a quarry in Wallace.

Passenger service through Tatamagouche was discontinued in the 1960s and the station was used as an office for railway employees handling freight until 1972, when it was closed, and sold in 1976. CN discontinued freight service on the line in 1986, when the Oxford Sub was abandoned; the rails were removed in 1989.

Today, the passenger station is a bed and breakfast with restored historic rail cars located on the property. The rail line through the village is a recreational trail, designated as part of the Trans Canada Trail and the point where the Nova Scotia portion of the trail branches south to Truro, Halifax and southwestern Nova Scotia.

Visit the Train Station Inn on Facebook

Five Islands Lighthouse

140 Broderick Lane, Lower Five Islands
Registration Date: July 2013

Five Islands LighthouseThe lighthouse is a wooden structure, built on just over 2 acres of land at Sand Point in the winter of 1913/1914. The kerosene light was first lit in 1914, and around 1963 the oil lamp was removed and replaced with a battery-operated system. In 1967, when electricity arrived at Sand Point, the light was changed from white to red.

The Minas Basin has the highest tides in the world, and there is considerable erosion annually. The lighthouse was first moved back in 1952 and again five years later. It was placed as far inland as the property allowed and remained there until 1996. Nearly all the land had eroded, and the base of the lighthouse was washing away.

The lighthouse was deactivated in 1993, and the Five Islands Lighthouse Preservation Society was formed in 1996. The Municipality of Colchester purchased the lighthouse and moved it onto the property of Sand Point Beach Campground. The Society leased the lighthouse from the Municipality and the land from Sand Point Beach Campground.

On November 6, 2008, the lighthouse was moved on the back of a flatbed trailer from the campground to a new site on Broderick Lane, Lower Five Islands, about seven kilometres away. From the new site there is a wonderful panoramic view of the five islands after which the lighthouse is named.

On April 28, 2010, at the AGM of NSLPS, the Society was awarded the Craig Harding Lighthouse Preservation Award which is presented annually to recognize an organization or individual that has done outstanding work in saving lighthouses.

Acknowledgement: Contributor: Kathy Brown and the Five Islands Lighthouse Preservations Society. Sources: Five Islands Lighthouse Preservation Society; The Story of Five Islands, Five Islands Women's Institute, 1969; NSLPS Database.

Earltown Community Centre

5527 Highway 311, Earltown
Registration Date: October 30th, 2013

earltownThis former one-room rural schoolhouse was built in 1865, replacing the original log building, and was used to educate generations of children living in the Earltown area. It ceased to be a school in 1968 and continues to function as part of the core of community life in Earltown. The centre is owned and maintained by the Earltown Community Centre Society.

This modest building is valued for being a good example of a typical wooden clapboard, rectangular one-room schoolhouse and is in its original location. It has a medium-pitched gabled roof with prominent lintels over the front door and upper front window.

This building was probably based on standardized plans prepared by William R. Mulholland, a teacher at the Provincial Normal College in Truro, who was asked to prepare a set of plans in the 1860s in response to the need for some 760 new schoolhouses in Nova Scotia. Six different versions of easy to construct, single-storey, one and two room wooden structures were designed, all easy to heat and well ventilated.

Sharon United Church

15 Church Street, Tatamagouche
Registration Date: October 27th, 2015

SharonUnitedThe church has a long history in Tatamagouche with construction taking place in 1854. The church bell, which is still being used, was donated by Miller Houghton & Company of Liverpool, England. A local ship builder, the Honourable Alexander Campbell, who had built several wooden sailing vessels for that firm, arranged for the donation of this bell. When the United Church of Canada was formed in 1925, the church was named Sharon United.
Design-wise, this wood-frame, Gothic Revival style church, is one of the most popular ecclesiastical styles in Nova Scotia throughout the second half of the nineteenth century. It has distinctive arched windows, narrow and pointed, which is a Gothic element. The most dominant architectural feature is the central tower with its four spires. A modern addition at the rear of the building reflects the style of the original building.

The church maintains a prominent role in the Tatamagouche area as a place of worship and as a gathering place for community events, whether they be spiritual, intellectual or cultural in nature. It is also valued for its physical, prominent position towards the western end of the village, welcoming all as they come into the village center.

Visit the Sharon United Church on Facebook

Elizabeth Bishop House (aka Bulmer House)

8740 Highway 2, Great Village
Registration Date: June 14, 2018

EBishopElizabeth Bishop was a Pulitzer Prize winning American poet and short story writer whose grandparents owned this house. It became the center of her universe as a child and later in life she wrote about this house and the Great Village landscape.

The house has a long history in Great Village with the original section of the home said to be around 220 years old and was originally located on Scrabble Hill, moved to its current location by her grandfather.

The house is of a Classical Revival style in the vernacular form, with two extensions, a kitchen ell and a shed. The entry porch, dormers and a skylight were added after its construction.
This property was designated in 1997 as a Provincially Registered Heritage Property, under the name “Bulmer House,” her maternal grandparents’ family name.

Visit the Elizabeth Bishop Society of Nova Scotia on Facebook