Description of Historic Place
Yarmouth’s First Hospital was originally built as a single family dwelling around 1843 in a residential area of Yarmouth, NS. It is a simple Vernacular style building with unusual dormers which set it apart from other houses of the style. The building and its residential lot are included in the municipal designation.
Yarmouth’s First Hospital is valued for its historic role as the first hospital in the Town of Yarmouth and for its historic associations. It is also valued for its intact Vernacular style of architecture, particularly its unusual dormer windows.
Yarmouth’s First Hospital was built around 1843 for Thomas V. B. Bingay, Sr., originally as a single family income property, which he retained for nine years before selling. Mr. Bingay was the founder and senior partner in the law firm of Thomas V. B. Bingay and Sons, who carried on business in the town for many years. The Bingay family was socially very prominent and well known lawyers, bankers and ship owners.
The property had six other owners between the time Thomas Bingay sold it in 1852 and its purchase by Jacob Bingay, his younger brother, in 1892. Jacob Bingay was a noted local architect, land and ship owner. He was a Director of the Mutual Relief Society of Nova Scotia, the Yarmouth Woolen Mill, and the Yarmouth Amalgamated Telephone Company. His apparent generosity was well demonstrated by his donation of this property, in 1911, to the Yarmouth Hospital Society “in order to assist the said society in its objects and purposes,” as was stated in the deed.
In October 1907 the mayor called a meeting of Yarmouth doctors to discuss the possible establishment of a hospital in the town. It was agreed that a committee of ladies should be formed to raise funds towards a hospital and it would be called the “Yarmouth Hospital Society.” Two years later the efforts to raise sufficient funds to build a hospital seemed doomed to failure. However, Jacob Bingay had offered this house as a site and it was decided to accept his offer. The property was deeded to the Society in March, 1911, and necessary changes and repairs were made to make the building more suitable. A year later the eight bed hospital was officially opened, but because of its limited space the facility was only able to serve as a hospital for four years, by which time a larger new hospital had been built, and the building reverted to a private residence.
In 1930 it became the home of Willard F. Allen, one of Yarmouth’s most colourful civic politicians. He entered politics in the 1940's and continued to serve on town councils into the 1980's, when he was well into his eighties. He served as Mayor of Yarmouth from 1952 to 1957 and from 1960 to 1962, and had also served as Deputy Mayor for several of his other terms on council. Mr. Allen was most noted for his dogged determination to keep Council’s attention on issues he favoured, which often resulted in heated debates, and sometimes amusing verbal exchanges, with other councillors. He lived here from the time he purchased the property until his death, at age 96, in 1991.
The Vernacular style architecture of this house would not be particularly noteworthy were it not for the unusual combination of a centered, gable roofed wall dormer flanked by cantilevered, hip roofed Scotch dormers. Otherwise this is a relatively simple one and a half storey wooden structure with a symmetrical five bay façade, centered entrance and lower one and a half storey back ell. That it is still standing, relatively unaltered, speaks for the soundness of its original construction by Nathan and Robert Butler circa1843.
Source: Registered Heritage Property files, Town of Yarmouth, NS, Yarmouth’s First Hospital File.
The character defining elements of Yarmouth’s First Hospital include:
- location in a residential neighborhood near the waterfront
- large lot and setback from the street
- single family dwelling
The character defining elements of the Vernacular style of Yarmouth’s First Hospital include:
- one and a half storeys with a lower one and a half storey back ell
- medium pitched gable roof
- centered gable roofed wall dormer
- cantilevered, hip roofed Scotch dormers flanking the center dormer
- symmetrical 5 bay facade
- centered entrance with wide casings and sidelights
- double hung sash windows
- 6 over 6 glazing pattern
- wood construction
- shingle cladding with corner- and verge-board trim