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91 Church Street has been described as the "last grand house of its period" in Antigonish. It was built in 1915 by Rob Roy Griffin, mayor of Antigonish from 1913-1914. Griffin served more than twenty years on the town council, and enjoys the distinction of having introduced English rugby to Antigonish. At the time when 91 Church was being built, Church Street had no through traffic and was dotted with the residences of doctors, lawyers and shopkeepers.
This 2-storey frame house with clapboard siding belongs to the Four-Square style. As the name indicates, structures based on this design were characterized by a "repetition of squares and square masses". In the early 20th-century the Four-Square was popular in rural and urban Canada and by 1919 Eaton's advertised pre-cut Four-Squares in its catalogue Plan Book of Ideal Homes. The Four-Square projects solid plain dignity and a pleasing symmetry; it signified a reaction to late Victorian ostentation. The basic configuration of 91 Church is a large square block topped by a pyramidal hipped roof. There is also a front hipped dormer and a wrap-around porch supported by simple columns. The windows are long, but the divided sash accentuates squareness.
The spacious Griffin house boasted such luxuries as servants quarters, a smoking verandah and servant buzzers. Its interior also reflected the new ideology of the "comfortable and sanitary home" which emphasized efficient layout and effective heating, plumbing and illumination systems. No expense was spared at 91 Church Street for the original construction featured "nob and tube wiring" and an elaborate coal heating system. Clearly, the Griffin House has a direct connection to a more elegant and monied era in Antigonish's past.
Researched by Jeff Jarabek