Old Stone House: On North St. to Rear of Belmont Hotel

old stone house

“Old stone house on North Street to rear of Belmont Hotel. Sole remaining house of stone construction for all walls. Exact age unknown – century or more at least built in 1830s. Has been residence of Frank Greene for 40 years. See article by Wetmore in Halifax Mail Star, March 12, 1954, or see “Story of Dartmouth” book. Photo by Wetmore.” https://archives.novascotia.ca/photocollection/archives/?ID=5323&Page=201742643

“Believed to be over 125 years old and the sole remaining old stone house in Dartmouth, this staunch residence is one of Dartmouth’s landmarks. It was once a school and is said to be built of Shubenacadie Canal stones.”

Sturdy Old House Takes Town Back 125 Years

A relic of the past, the sole remaining old stone house in Dartmouth, has historical walls which – could they but speak, might have many tales of an early Dartmouth to tell. Solidly rising from the corner of North and Edward Streets in Dartmouth, the landmark is believed to be over 125 years old. For many years now, antique lovers or those who relish the solid, simple lines, characteristic of some 18th century architecture, have been captivated by the impressive edifice at first glance.

Many Visit

Mrs. Frank Greene, owner and resident of the house, reports that many times cars have stopped outside the house while the occupants stared at the weathered stones and firm lines of the building.

Several times strangers have come to her door, and asked Mrs. Greene if it would be possible to see inside the house and every time Mrs. Greene has willingly obliged.

Mrs. Greene – and until last year her husband, the late Frank G. Greene – has lived in the old stone house for over 40 years.

There is no cellar under the house and the walls rise straight up from the rock bottom. Stones that built these walls could have come from the old Shubenacadie canal locks, it is thought.

Inside? … Well, there have been some changes made since a century ago but the principle is the same.

Th rooms for the most part are large, the walls thick, and there are three floors including the ground one. On the first and second floors there are spacious rooms that must have been living rooms or parlous at one time, although both are in use they are not utilized as such today.

Beside a couple of bedrooms on the second floor there are two more large ones up a narrow flight of stairs, and under the eaves. In any case, the total is eight rooms altogether.

There is no basement under the house and consequently no central heating unit. Each room has its own individual coal stove which until recently was the sole means of heating the large building. When the Greene’s moved to the house several fire-places and gates were to be found in the larger rooms. these have since been boarded for, as they were not often used, they proved to be what Mrs. Greene termed as “dirt catchers”.

Other renovations included that of the inside color scheme which has changed often in the course of time. Also the windows were originally composed of many small panes of glass which were replaced with larger sheets of glass after the 1918 (sic) Halifax Explosion.

Historian Comments

One of the early owners of the property – at what is now 17 North Street, was John Hawthorne, who died about 1820. The next record of any owner is that of a Thomas Miller, a blacksmith connected with the old Shubenacadie Canal. Local historian J. P. Martin said he thought it possible that Miller might have built the house around 1830 which, he said, would explain the presence of sturdy stones that might have come from the canal.

John Tempest, a leading one time figure in the Halifax business world, was the next known occupant.

Becomes School

Then the stone residence became a private school which was run by Mrs. William Forbes, mother of Rev. E. W. Forbes, Hawthorne Street, Dartmouth. Mrs. Forbes was the former Mrs. Agnes Russell, the late sister of Judge Benjamin Russell. It was after she was a widow that Mrs. Forbes opened school in the house.

A teacher, presumably, stands in the doorway, while another boy is sitting in a pony-cart complete with pony. The road by the house is vague and not yet defined by curb and gutter.

A gifted and talented marine architect and shipbuilder who lived around the latter part of the 19th century, occupied the old stone house until turn of the century when he died. He was Ebenezer Moseley of Halifax, Dartmouth and Le-Have.”

“Old Stone house”, 1954. https://archives.novascotia.ca/photocollection/archives/?ID=5321

“Old Stone House”, 1954. https://archives.novascotia.ca/photocollection/archives/?ID=5322

North at Edward today…

Halifax From Above the Rectory, Dartmouth

I believe this view would be from somewhere near the top of Silver’s Road today, the rectory having been located a few hundred feet down Hawthorne Street from the corner of what is now Prince Albert Road. A close-up view of the peninsula that contained the Nantucket Whaling enterprise, that is now Kings Wharf, is seen below.

“Halifax From Above the Rectory, Dartmouth”, Petley, Robert. 1835. https://recherche-collection-search.bac-lac.gc.ca/eng/home/record?app=FonAndCol&IdNumber=2838573

“The history of Kings County, Nova Scotia, heart of the Acadian land”

“Until January, 1757, the Governor and Council ruled alone in Nova Scotia, at that time, after long debate, it was decided that a Representative Assembly should be created, and that there should be elected for the province at large, until counties should be formed, twelve members, besides four for the township of Halifax, two for … Read more

Petition of inhabitants of Dartmouth concerning the inconvenience of not having regularly appointed town officers

Petition of John Skerry, 28 February 1833

51 names are contained within this petition including the memorialist, John Skerry. I took a stab at what I could pick out, a few names.


“The Petition of the undersigned inhabitants of Dartmouth, humbly sheweth.

That your petitioners experience great inconvenience in consequence of Town officers not being regularly appointed and in such a manner as to afford general satisfaction.

That your petitioners conceive that if your Honorable House were to grant to the Township of Dartmouth the privilege of holding Town Meetings for the purpose of appointing officers, that the cause of complaint would no longer exist.

That your petitioners hope your Honorable House will be pleased to take the premises into your gracious consideration and grant such relief as your Honorable House in its wisdom may deem fit, and your Petitioners as in duty bound will ever pray.”

Dartmouth, February 27th 1833.
John Skerry, Peter Donaldson, Joseph Moore, John Tuttle (?)

John Tapper, William Bowers, Micheal Murphy, Denis Doyle, (??), …. Lyle, Henry Allen, (??), Henry Smith, Thomas Davie, Peter Manning, (??0 John Davis, Patrick (?), (?) Murphy, Richard Arnold, George (?), James Durham, (??), David (?), Michel Darmody (?), John Magher, William Reeves, (?) Warren (?), (??), Thomas Medley, Andrew (?), Thomas McKenzie, Robert Jackson (?), Thomas (?)

Robert Jackson, Patrick Connor, (??), James Coleman, Edward (?), John Gillies, Josiah Ash, Oliver (?), James (?), George Turner, Joseph (?), (??), Michael Murray (?), (?) Elliot, Issac Noble, John (?), William (?)

“Petition of inhabitants of Dartmouth concerning the inconvenience of not having regularly appointed town officers”, https://archives.novascotia.ca/assembly/archives/?ID=5579&Page=200835492, https://archives.novascotia.ca/assembly/archives/?ID=5579&Page=200835493, https://archives.novascotia.ca/assembly/archives/?ID=5579&Page=200835494

A brief history of the [Black] Baptists of Nova Scotia and their first organization as churches

banook baptism black history

This “authors apology” is so eloquent, it perfectly describes how I feel in relation to Dartmouth and so I had to include it, I can only hope to have a fraction of their humility and ability. Anything that seemed to relate to Dartmouth I’ve included here as follows. “THE AUTHOR’S APOLOGY: This little messenger, presented … Read more

Nova Scotia in 1862: papers relating to the two great exhibitions in London of that year

“List of Contributors: … P. McNab, Dartmouth – barley and oats.” “On the east side of the harbor is situated the town of Dartmouth, settled in 1750. The town is well situated, and is admirably adapted to the employment of ship-building. It is connected with the city by steamboats.” “Prior to 1719 (at which time … Read more

History of Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, the Sable Islands, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, the Bermudas, Newfoundland, &c., &c.

“The territorial distribution of the Nova Scotia government is – 1. Eastern division, 2. Middle; 3. Western; 4. Halifax; 5. Cape Breton; there are ten counties, some of which are again subdivided into districts and townships for the more convenient administration of justice. The only counties divided into districts are, Halifax into three, viz. Halifax, Colchester, and Pictou; and Sydney into Lower and Upper.

The townships are not all of equal extent, nor of equal number in each county, viz. in Halifax there are Halifax, Dartmouth, Preston, and Lawrence Town (in Halifax District)…”

“Halifax division, containing part of the county of the same name, and the townships of Haliax, Dartmouth, Preston and Lawrence Town, is thus presented in the last census:

Dartmouth: 960 mouths, 504 acres, 74 Wheat bushels, 921 other grain bushels, 8480 potatoes bushels, 301 hay tons, 111 horses, 195 horned cattle, 162 sheep, 130 swine.

“The naval capital of British North America, Halifax, has been before described, and Dartmouth requires no separate account”

Martin, Robert Montgomery, 1803?-1868. History of Nova Scotia, Cape Breton, the Sable Islands, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, the Bermudas, Newfoundland, &c., &c.. London: Whittaker & co., 1837. https://hdl.handle.net/2027/hvd.hwgbuk

An address delivered before the Halifax Mechanics’ Institute on the 5th November, 1834 by Joseph Howe

“Far be it from me to wish, on this occasion, to draw national distinctions. I desire rather to show you how the certainty that your descendants will be one race, having a common attachment to Nova Scotia, and knowing no higher obligation than to love and honor her, ought to draw you closer to each other in friendly union, and make you solicitous to give that direction to their minds which shall best secure their happiness, and promote the welfare of their common country.”

“…from Virginia, with her 66,000 square miles, covered with flourishing towns and more than a million population – from New York, with her magnificent rivers, princely cities, and two millions of people – from Massachusetts, with her extensive border crowded with activity and intelligence – from the Canadas, with their national dimensions, great natural resources, and rapidly increasing population – to our own little province, hemmed in by the Atlantic and its bays, and presenting an outline as comparatively insignificant as her numbers, we may be pardoned if, at times, the desire to elevate and adorn our native land, is borne down by a sense of the competition we must encounter, and the apparent hopelessness of the task.”

Howe, Joseph, 1804-1873. An Address Delivered Before the Halifax Mechanics’ Institute On the 5th November, 1834. Halifax, N.S.: [s.n.], 1834. https://hdl.handle.net/2027/aeu.ark:/13960/t9d51gg7j

Case of the honourable the baronets of Scotland and Nova Scotia

“The baronetage, which forms a distinct estate of nobility in the British empire, intermediate between the peerage and knighthood, was erected by his majesty king James I by Charter under the great seal, on the 22nd of May, 1611” roun, R. (Richard), Sir, 1801-1858. Case of the Honourable the Baronets of Scotland And Nova Scotia: … Read more

Letters from Nova Scotia: comprising sketches of a young country

“One or two ships are generally building on the slips at Dartmouth, on the opposite side of the harbor, varying from one to four hundred tons…”

“An ingenious and simple plan was proposed, towards the close of the last war, for constructing a dock immediately opposite the yard on the Dartmouth shore, where a little cove and ravine offer two sides of a natural basin which was to be formed into a double dock, supplied by the means of the rivulet. I know not why this plan was not adopted.”

“About forty years ago, a turnpike-gate erected within ten miles of Halifax was pulled down by the people.”

“The Legislature is very liberal in granting pecuniary aid to private undertakings which embrace public utility; for instance, a carriage ferry from Halifax to Dartmouth, in the hands of a few individuals, is annually subsidized from the treasury… In some instances, it is to be feared, a little abuse has been engendered by this method of proceeding…”

Moorsom, W. S. (William Scarth), 1804-1863. Letters From Nova Scotia: Comprising Sketches of a Young Country. London: H. Colburn and R. Bentley, 1830. https://hdl.handle.net/2027/aeu.ark:/13960/t25b0wq10

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