The Ward House in Centreville, Nova Scotia
A reader of my blog from Nova Scotia sent me a link to this unusual historic home in Centreville, Nova Scotia. (Thanks Mark!)
If you are anything like me you probably just did a double take. This dwelling appears to have a bit of an identity conflict. Half is built of stone and brick, the other half is a wooden addition. There is also a rear ell that is wood frame.
Dating back to c. 1785, The Ward House is notable for its age and historical connections.
The house was built in the late 18th century for Loyalist James Ward. Loyalists are those American colonists who ditched the future United States in favor of remaining loyal to the British Crown. [An interesting personal aside: the matrilineal side of my heritage can be traced to a Loyalist who fled America for what is now eastern Canada during the American Revolutionary War! ]
In any case, the Ward House was owned by the Ward family until 1919. The title records indicate that the house has had only THREE owners during the 200-plus years of its existence!
This home also has another interesting footnote in history: in the mid 1800’s the attic of this home was used to store the frozen bodies of men who washed ashore after the shipwreck of the Ocean Queen. (It’s little wonder that Canadian Literature is so fantastical – you just can’t make this stuff up.) The bodies were kept there until spring thaw when they could be properly buried.
After that, the house was used for many decades as an inn – The Way Over Inn. Today the house is owned and preserved by the Gasch family.
According to a Parks Canada website which catalogs historic homes, the Ward House is made of local brick laid on top of a stone foundation. But it is not an evenly divided foundation. The stone of the foundation creeps up and down around the house in an odd, seemingly random, fashion.
It’s almost as though the builders were planning to construct a stone house, but then ran out of stone.
Unfortunately, we will never know for sure because the builders are long gone and buried.
(and special thanks to Mark Wilson)
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