Halifax Regional Council has approved the request to include two buildings in the Registry of Heritage Property for the Halifax Regional Municipality.
At a public hearing on Tuesday—the last step in making a building’s status official—Seamus McGreal, a planner with HRM, presented to councillors followed by each of the property owners.
McGreal says the construction type is rare because it’s a wooden building that was integrated into the construction of brick buildings. Today it’s owned by Sarah and Ian Bezanson.
Ian Bezanson says he and his wife bought the house thinking it was a brick house like those around it but were surprised to learn it wasn’t
He says they love the place regardless and are taking steps to return the house to its former architectural properties. “It’s one that we continue to and we’d continue to love and restore,” he says.
Councillor Waye Mason says he’s happy to see the property registered. “It’s always great when we have a property owner coming in and asking for registration,” he says. The outcome is more likely to be positive in these situations, compared to properties that heritage staff or non-owners bring forward for heritage registration. (A significant contrast to a March heritage hearing where 16 properties were up for registration, and property owner after property owner protested and no protections were granted.)
The request for the building at 10175 Highway 7, Salmon River Bridge was brought forward by the owner and scored a 60 out of a 70 on HRM’s heritage scoring evaluation. The one-and-a-half storey house was constructed in 1884. It remained in the family until it was sold in 1993, but in 2018 was bought back by Brenda Hattie-Longmire, James and Eliza Myers’ granddaughter.
Property owner Brenda Hattie-Longmire took the audience down memory lane with a pictorial presentation of her great-grandmother Eliza Myers’ house. The photos used in her presentation were shot by her amateur photographer great-uncle, Amos Myers. “And because of him, really, it’s one of the reasons that I have, we have such a rich visual history,” she says.
Hattie-Longmire says the house was famous for its beautiful garden and veranda and was once featured on the front page of The Chronicle Herald. So far, Hattie-Longmire has invested $20,000 in the house and says the designation will help her with some of her projects that will prevent issues like heat loss and water runoff in the house. Adding that she would like to restore its Victorian detail.
Hattie-Longmire says her house and the Fisherman’s Life Museum are “twins,” adding that both buildings’ designs are similar. She says her grandmother and her great-aunt were founding members of the museum. “So, we’ve been invested in that place since my grandmother,” she says.
Her family also had some connections with the Memory Lane Heritage Village Museum.
She says having the heritage designation could make room for event collaborations with museums. “I would really like to do this, expanding on the cultural, historical and artistic offerings in the area,” she says.
Hattie-Longmire is also working on her aunt Leah Myers’ barn which is across the road from the house and says both buildings have the capacity to boost the rural economy. “Through the events whether they’re historical, cultural or artistic with the other two museums,” she says.
Councillor David Hendsbee said Hattie-Longmire has his full support. “I think this will be a great spot to drop in and buy them local wares,” he says.
Councillor Steve Streatch agreed. “I think it’s wonderful that you and others are preserving the rich heritage of the Eastern Shore,” she says.
At regional council this week councillors approved three potential historic properties to move forward for a heritage hearing: the buildings at 53 Queen Street in Dartmouth, 1342 Robie Street, 40 and 82 Tall Trees Lane.