Cole Harbour Heritage Farm Museum

Cole Harbour Heritage Farm Museum Virtual Tour 3D slideshow

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Description of Property:

Cole Harbour Farm consists of six structures including the Giles and Harris Houses. It is located on the south-west corner of where Poplar Drive meets Octogo Drive in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The parcel of farmland is nestled on a hill overlooking a pond and a well-developed commercial area along Cole Harbour Road. The municipal heritage designation applies only to six of the buildings and the land they it occupy.

Heritage Value: Cole Harbour Farm is located in a very busy and commercial section of Cole Harbour that was once mainly agricultural. The Farm is the only remaining structural evidence of that history. Cole Harbour Farm includes four outbuilding structures and two farm houses that together are valued for their association to rural life and early settlers of Cole Harbour.

The outbuildings include three barns and a blacksmith shop. The Settle Barn, named for the Settle family who were the original owners of the property, is valued as a good example of an English style barn and features three bays framed by timber that is built into the slope of the land. The Market Barn has had many uses over its lengthy lifetime. It was used to house livestock as well as provide storage for the large market garden business that served Halifax and area. The barn is valued for its cold-storage room which is considered to be one of the first in Cole Harbour. The Crib Barn was built in the early nineteenth century and is valued for its unusual style. It features hand-hewn framework covered in large three foot shingles. The Blacksmith Shop was constructed in the nineteenth century and has served many uses including livestock barn, carriages and tractor storage and of course a blacksmith shop, which is its current function. The roof shows evidence of where it has been cut and raised to accommodate larger machinery.

The property also includes two farm houses. The Giles House is currently part of the farm and is considered to be one of the oldest buildings in Cole Harbour. The house was originally built in 1810 on one hundred acres of land purchased by Joseph Giles in 1789. Giles moved to Cole Harbour from the United States in 1786. He was one of the earliest settlers of Cole Harbour. The land remained in the Giles family for two hundred years until 1972 when it was purchased by Nova Scotia Housing Commission. The modest farm house was moved to the Cole Harbour Farm in 1976 to save it from demolition. Architecturally, the Giles House is valued as a one-and-a-half storey prefabricated Cape Cod style dwelling built with horizontal slotted logs with a central chimney. In the 1890s it was converted to a Saltbox style house with the extension on the back and the roof line altered. The house is also valued for its representations of different time periods and the evolution of construction techniques.

The Harris House is the original homestead of Robert Settle Sr. He was also one of the earliest settlers to the area. Settle owned approximately 125 acres of agricultural land. The Settle family owned the house and property from 1843 to 1972 when it was sold to Stuart Harris. Architecturally, the Harris House is valued as an attractive two storey Gothic Revival style dwelling with two large cross gable dormers with pointed windows. The house has a central chimney and doorway. Harris House also features a veranda that has been converted into a tearoom.

The Farm is now a museum and is open to the public.


Source: Heritage Property File: 471- 475 Poplar Drive, Cole Harbour Farm, found at HRM Planning and Development Services, Heritage Property Program, 6960 Mumford Road, Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Character Defining Elements: The character-defining elements of the Cole Harbour Farm site include:

– close proximinty of agricultural buildings located around a central farm yard space;
– operating farm with livestock;
– anchor within the neighbourhood;
– building materials of wood shingles and hand hewn beams.

The character-defining elements of the Settle Barn, Market Barn, Crib Barn, and the Blacksmith Shop include:

– wood framing;
– built to slope (Settle Barn);
– hand hewn craftsmanship;
– oversized wood shingles;
– cold storage room (Market Barn)
– all original and historic elements related to their agricultural functions.


The character-defining elements of the Giles House include:

– one-and-one-half storeys;
– prefabricated wooden frame;
– elements related to both the Cape Cod and Saltbox styles;
– horizontal slotted logs;
– all original and historic interior elements related to evolution of floor plan;
– steeply pitched gable roof;
– central chimney.

The character-defining elements of the Harris House relate to its Gothic Revival style and include:

– cross gable dormers;
– pointed windows;
– central chimney;
– veranda;
– triangle-shaped window to fit roofline.

Street Address: 471 – 475 Poplar Drive

Community: Dartmouth
Province: Nova Scotia
Ownership of Historic Place: Not For Profit
Construction Circa Date: Built ca. 1810 – 1880

Web: Web Address Description HRM Heritage Property Program Official web site of the Cole Harbour Heritage Farm Museum


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