20 West Street, c. 1860

The 1 1/2 storey house at 20 West Street was originally owned by William Chisholm, an unmarried carpenter. In 1878, after eighteen years, he sold the house to Angus Fraser, a local man who sold farm goods. The household at this time consisted of ten people. In 1891 the house changed hands again when it was sold to its third owner, Michael Donovan, proprietor of The Casket.

Built in c. 1860, 20 West Street is a splendid example of Maritime Vernacular, a style which evolved into subtypes which remained popular among working class Maritimers well into the 19th century. Maritime Vernacular was initially shaped by New England building traditions and epitomizes the impact of transplanted cultures, the intermixing of North Atlantic economies, and the tenacity of building types. It also exemplifies the practicality of the builders who strived for economy and permanence; some of the interior wall planks are 18 to 20 inches in width. With its 5-bay facade and traditional symmetry, 20 West Street projects a classical simplicity. It bears a striking similarity with the durable Cape Cod style with its pitched roof, simple gable dormers, and clapboard siding. Although the central doorway is obscured by a small enclosed porch, the house features a traditional vernacular interpretation of neo-classical trim with its pronounced pilasters and return eaves.

Daniel Jankowski

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