Acacia Grove / Prescott House National Historic Site of Canada
Starrs Point, Nova Scotia
© Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada.
1633 Starr's Point Road, Port Williams, Starrs Point, Nova Scotia
Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
1799 to 1809
1809 to 1818
Event, Person, Organization:
C. R. Prescott
Fruit Growers Association
Acacia Grove / Prescott House
Research Report Number:
Existing plaque: Starrs Point, Nova Scotia
Acacia Grove was built in the early years of the 19th century for Charles R. Prescott, a retired merchant, sometime legislator and noted pioneer in the apple industry of Nova Scotia. A very fine example of the Georgian style, the house was built of brick made from local clay. Its outbuildings included a hothouse where fruit, vegetables and flowers were grown in great variety and whence slips were liberally despatched to other horticulturists of the region. Sold shortly after Prescott's death in 1859, the house was acquired in 1931 by a great granddaughter who restored it to its original state.
Description of Historic Place
Acacia Grove / Prescott House National Historic Site of Canada is an extensive property in the Annapolis Valley, Nova Scotia. Set amidst gardens and orchards this large, Georgian House from the early 19th-century has a rectangular footprint, regular openings on its façade, a hipped roof flanked by two chimneys, and a small pediment over the front door. The substantial two-and-half-storey brick home is an outstanding example of domestic architecture inspired by the British classical tradition. The designation refers to the house in its landscape.
Acacia Grove / Prescott House was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1969 because: it is a very fine example of the Georgian style.
Acacia Grove, a dignified brick house, follows the formal architectural conventions of the Georgian style (British Classical style) and combines the compact form derived from British classical tradition with Palladian ornamentation. Its successful, symmetrical design and balanced proportions are embellished with restrained classical detailing. When Charles Ramage Prescott retired from business in Halifax, he relocated to his rural estate in the Annapolis Valley where he had built a fine home of British classical inspiration set in the midst of outbuildings, extensive gardens, and orchards. He is best remembered for introducing improved varieties of apples to the area and for establishing the New Brunswick Fruit Growers Association. The property came to be known as Acacia Grove for the grove of Acacia, or Black Locust trees planted by Prescott. Over the years, the property passed through a number of owners until it eventually fell into disrepair. It was restored by Prescott’s great-granddaughter in the 1930s and is now administered as a house museum by the Nova Scotia Museum.
Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, May 1969.
Key elements that contribute to the heritage value of the site include: the landscape of extensive gardens and orchards with the house as its focal point; the siting of the house, set back from the road and approached by a curving drive; the Georgian Style of the house illustrated by its rectangular massing, truncated, slightly
bellcast hipped roof with dormers and massive chimneys at each end, five-bay facade, regularly-spaced openings, double-hung multi-pane windows, and a central door with semi-elliptical transom and sidelights; the house’s brick construction made from local clay from the Cornwallis River; the house’s high foundation of rubble stone faced with sandstone; the Wallace sandstone lintels, plinth courses, and stringcourses; the interior plan around a double centre hall with evidence of a basement kitchen; the classically inspired woodwork of the interior including Doric pilasters, and the fine moulding and panelling; the seven original fireplaces; the surviving decorative plasterwork; evidence of original plantings in the gardens and orchards.