Nova Scotia is not particularly good at managing to save its built heritage. There are, however, some shining examples of our past architectural prowess, and among these gems is the Uniacke Estate Museum Park in Mount Uniacke, Nova Scotia – a short drive outside of the metro Halifax/Dartmouth area.
Uniacke Estate was built in the early 1800’s by distant cousin Attorney General of Nova Scotia Richard John Uniacke, although the family probably summered there earlier than that. The Uniackes are of Irish descent and so they built the main home and the surrounding buildings to look like their homeland, and managed the acreage as well to resemble an Irish farm. The estate was made in this English landscape style, and today the Park part of the property includes a walk through the formerly cleared grounds, which are now mainly reverting back to the forest. With the estate’s location along a beautiful lake, and the rolling hills in the foreground, it is a gorgeous setting, and the home and other buildings have been preserved by the Province and maintained as part of the NS Museum complex.
While grateful for the chance to see such a beautiful home and grounds, I can’t help but think of all the buildings that we as a Province could have saved that would have been equally interesting. Just in the Yarmouth County area alone, we have lost two of the original founding family’s homes in the last 5 years – the Ring home on the William Allen Road, across the Chebogue River from Town Point was torn down and so now only the basement of the barn remains, and the oldest home in the area, the Clements House in Chebogue proper, was torn down 2 years ago after it got to a state where it was simply going to collapse. Both these homes were owned by original Planter families of the Yarmouth area, and so among the earliest English settlers in the Province. Part of my Conservation Photography is to record images to be able to show people things they might not have thought about – and fortunately I do have good images of both these former homes, but it is a shame we value so little our built heritage here.