Links and documents
1822/01/01 to 1823/12/31
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Universalist Unitarian Church of Halifax is located on Inglis Street in Halifax, NS, amongst many late Victorian residential buildings. The Church is residential in form and Victorian Eclectic in style. The provincial designation applies to the building and property.
The Universalist Unitarian Church of Halifax is valued for its historical associations, architecture and location.
The building was constructed between 1822 and 1823 for merchant and socialite John Tremain and his family on the same property where his successful ropewalk was located. The passing of free trade in 1826 eventually led to Tremain’s downfall as he was unable to compete with cheaper, American rope and left Halifax in 1837. His property fell to one of his creditors, Enos Collins, who later earned the reputation as being the wealthiest man in North America. Other influential owners of the home include: Hon. John Bayley Bland, Commissioner of the Revenues; Joseph Seaton, American Consul to Halifax; Harry L. Chipman, Consul for the Austro Hungarian Empire; and Hon. Ernest Armstrong, Premier of Nova Scotia. For over one hundred years the home was associated with the social and political elite of Nova Scotia.
The building is also associated with the history of the Universalist Unitarian Church in Nova Scotia. In 1843 a small meeting house was built in downtown Halifax by a fledgling congregation. As the congregation grew, a larger building was erected. However in the late 1940s the congregation dwindled and the church was sold. A surge in church membership in the 1960s allowed the congregation to purchase the Inglis Street residence, which at the time was a deteriorating rooming house.
The Church is also valued for its architecture. The original form of the building was a one-and-one-half storey, gabled roof house with a square main plan and was smaller than the present structure. In 1849 a one-storey ballroom wing was added on the east side. The most significant changes came under the ownership of Harry L. Chipman who added a porch, east entrance hall and kitchen. The gable roof was changed to a mansard roof and extended over the length of the building. Five dormer windows were added to the front elevation along with much of its decorative detail. This series of alterations over time combine to give the building a unique appearance.
The Universalist Unitarian Church of Halifax is located among other heritage buildings in the south end of Halifax. Its presence helps to retain and reflect the once stately and suburban atmosphere of this portion of the city.
Source: Provincial Heritage Property file no. 55
Character-defining elements of the Universalist Unitarian Church include:
- parged undressed slate and ironstone building materials;
- asymmetrical façade;
- partial mansard roof with roof cornice;
- five vertical sliding elongated gabled windows on front elevation;
- end chimney with early chimney pots;
- enclosed porch;
- evidence of original gable roof;
- all original and historic interior elements including: ballroom , fireplaces, shutters, and mantles, trim, and doors;
- location in south end Halifax.
Province of Nova Scotia
Heritage Property Act
Provincially Registered Property
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Trade and Commerce
- Building Social and Community Life
- Religious Institutions
- Peopling the Land
Function - Category and Type
- Religion, Ritual and Funeral
- Religious Institution
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Provincial Heritage Property File # 32; Heritage Section, Nova Scotia Department of Tourism, Culture and Heritage, 1747 Summer Street, Halifax, N.S., B3H 3A6
Cross-Reference to Collection