Early Paint Colors

The Red House on the Corner

This delightful photograph and descriptive caption are but one example of documentary evidence that have been gathered in an ongoing research project at Vineberg & Fulton that serves to collect paint color references of early Nova Scotia in a database used for identifying color palettes and related paint history for different periods and corners of the province.

Mr. Rogers, a man from Shelburne or Cape Negro, has been here some time jobbing, is come to work to paint the roof of my house with tar and spanish brown.

Simeon Perkins Diary, August 17, 1790

Photograph captions, diaries, newspapers, account books, and travel writings are among a wide range of resources that have been tapped for insight into this incredibly rich area of study. We invite your assistance in this huge undertaking. If you know of any pre-1905 paint color references, we encourage you to contact us so that we might add to our growing database.


Posted by Joe Jul 04, 2011 Posted in Built Heritage, Featured, Publications & Research Comments Off

Historic Landscapes

Bay View Park, Yarmouth

This is the forest primeval. The murmuring pines and the hemlocks, bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight,  stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic.

Evangeline, H.W. Longfellow

Historic landscapes are an often overlooked part of our cultural heritage. While it may be easy for the general public to recognize a historic landscape such as Grand-Pré, the public only understands the importance of such a site because of the extensive interpretation and pervasive education that mark it as significant (and because of the unrelenting heart of Gabriel Lajeunesse).

What of those sites that do not yet benefit from the protecting cloak of site interpretation and public education? What of traditional Mi’kmaq flintknapping sites? What of the stone and iron work in historic cemeteries? What of sites where public hangings took place? Or of individual trees or rocks that once held a place of cultural meaning in local lore?

Parks, bridges, canals, commons, roads, dykes, sports fields, and other “built” landscapes can be so ubiquitous that we almost don’t recognize their significance. Sometimes it takes someone from “away” to point out the uniqueness of a place. Sometimes a place can appear to be so unchanging, so constant, that locals do not fear it losing its heritage value. Heritage value though is not always eradicated by an early morning excavator; it can also be forfeited slowly over generations.


Prince Street, Truro

By now you are beginning to get an inkling of where this commentary is headed. Everything should be turned into a museum so that history huggers have a place to take (and indoctrinate) their children. Nope! Turning everything into a museum is of course not the answer; nor is it the objective of those engaged in historic preservation. It is in fact, ‘continuous use’ that is often the best preserver of all. It is important though that sites are thoroughly researched and documented and appropriate management plans put in place.

The ongoing preservation of cultural landscapes provides scenic, economic, recreational, ecological, and educational opportunities for Nova Scotians and visitors. Such sites provided early residents with a sense of place and have the ability to continue doing so for many years to come.

Posted by Joe Jul 03, 2011 Posted in Cultural Landscapes, Featured Comments Off

Adaptive Reuse of Churches

Colchester County’s Balmoral Kirk

Contrary to prevailing belief, church closures are NOT new to Nova Scotia. What is new is our inability to conceive of new uses for the structures. Over 100 years ago, resourceful and imaginative Nova Scotians turned former houses of worship into homes, inns and bowling alleys!

Vineberg & Fulton Ltd. can work with church stewards, property developers, and community groups to re-imagine and reuse these venerable buildings while valuing their architectural integrity and their importance to the community.

As Bluenoses we have been in this position before. Let’s be just as smart this time around, think outside the nave – think of these landmarks as cultural resources and consider how they can be retained rather than demolished.  In small communities the loss of these buildings is often a death-knell.  Don’t surrender these charming buildings easily; remember that the best use for a church is still as a place of worship.  Historically, church buildings were raised and supported by the entire community, not just the congregation.  Even Protestants and Catholics aided one another despite their differences; atheists too, supported the efforts of worshipers.  There is no good reason to stand idly by as a congregation in your community struggles to find the funds to repaint a steeple or replace an aging roof.  Save the church, save the community.

The “Old Chapel” was for many years the only house of worship in town except the neat Episcopal church that now makes such a nice meat market.

Truro Daily News, January 6, 1898

Posted by Joe Jun 18, 2011 Posted in Adaptive Reuse, Atlantic Canada, Featured Comments Off