Windsor Heritage Properties
Lawson House, built in 1898 just after the Great Fire, is one of only two buildings in Windsor designed by prominent Maritime architect, William Critchlow Harris. It is of special interest because it is one of the first buildings in which Harris incorporated round towers with conical roofs, a feature which later became a trademark of his work. The house is also significant in Windsor’s history because of its association with former owner H.B. Tremain, Member of Parliament for Hants, and W. Medford Christie, a former Town solicitor.
Christ Church Anglican
The cornerstone of Christ Church was laid in 1882, and the first service held in March 1884. Christ Church has played a significant role in the history of the Town of Windsor, the Province of Nova Scotia, and Canada as a whole, through its connections with Bishop Charles Inglis, who also founded King’s College and King’s College School (now King’s-Edgehill School), and parishioners such as Thomas Chandler Haliburton and Charles G.D. Roberts.
Christ Church is a fine example of Carpenter Gothic Revival architecture. It also forms one of an interesting trio of buildings designed by Worcester, Mass. architect Stephen C. Earle. The same plans were used to build Trinity Church in Digby, Nova Scotia, and St. Paul’s in Trinity, Newfoundland. Christ Church was built by local contractor Joseph Taylor, using primarily locally harvested woods and hardware manufactured by Windsor Foundry Company.
West Hants Historical Society Museum
As the third church on the site, the West Hants Historical Society Museum reflects the town’s history, and chronicles the changing fates of the Methodist and Presbyterian congregations as they withstood calamitous fires, first in 1897 and again in 1939. When amalgamation became final and they were worshiping under one roof, they chose to sell this property as surplus in 1976. This building has continued to serve the community in a secular fashion, first as a meeting space for the Independent Order of Oddfellows (I.O.O.F.) for over 30 years, and in 1990 it was purchased by the West Hants Historical Society to serve as a community museum and genealogical research centre.
It has retained the outward “look” of a church, and thus fits in well as one of five churches along King Street between Water Street and Wiley Avenue. It is a typical example of the Carpenter Gothic vernacular, and is an important part of the overall streetscape. The West Hants Historical Society volunteers play a pivotal role in the preservation of the community’s built and archived heritage, and the museum chronicles the history and culture of Windsor and surrounding area.
Built in 1844 by Thomas Timlin, Thornton is significant in Windsor because of its association with Edward Dimock, who purchased it in 1855. Dimock was a former Mayor and an owner of many major businesses including Dimock’s Hardware (1849), the Windsor Foundry (1855), the Commercial Bank of Windsor (1865), and the Wentworth Gypsum Company (1891). Thornton House is of special interest as it is of Georgian/Federal style, uncommon in Windsor. Many of its original features have been retained and it is probably the oldest brick home in town.
Old Parish Burying Ground
In 1776, the Honourable Michael Francklin gave about two acres of land for erecting a Church, and for a “Burying Ground”. The Burying Ground was the site of the first two churches in Windsor. The first, which according to Hind was sixty feet square, was built in 1771. Rev. Joseph Bennett, the rector of this chapel appointed in 1775, was buried in the Old Parish Burying Ground in 1795. After the second church was built, this first building was moved opposite the entrance gates to King’s College and Hind reports that formed part of a house.
A second church was built in the Burying Ground between 1788 and 1790. The Church and Burying Ground were consecrated by the Right Reverend John Inglis on November 5, 1826.
According to the survey at the West Hants Historical Society, the oldest surviving gravestone marks the death of Mrs. Rachael Kelley on January 27, 1771. In 1887, the cemetery was closed to burials. Members of some prominent Windsor and Nova Scotian families are buried in the Old Parish Burying Ground including: Isaac DesChamps, the fourth Chief Justice of Nova Scotia (1785-1788), Winckworth Tonge, grandson of one of the original land grantees, and Susanna Francklin, wife of Lieutenant Governor Michael Francklin who donated the land for the Burying Ground, as well as early presidents and professors of King’s College including William Cochran, the first President of the College.
Beyond the genealogical information which may be found in a cemetery, the gravestones tell their own story about attitudes towards death, the business of death and the symbols used by stone carvers to commemorate death. Many of the gravestones are decorated with hands in various positions, urns, cherubs, and other symbols common to gravestone of this period.