Friday, August 31, 2018

Prescott House

Yesterday, Grandson and I did the last of the museums that are old houses for this year. 
Prescott House is situated at Starrs Point, 5 km from Port William. It was built between 1812 and 1816 for Charles Prescott.
 Charles Prescott was born in Halifax in in 1772 and was a privateer and merchant business owner where he amassed a moderate fortune. In 1811, he retired buying 100 acres of land to become known as Acacia Grove.
He was very interested in horticulture and is well known for being a pioneer of the apple industry in the Annapolis Valley. 
The foundation of the house is rubble and the rest is bricks made from local clay. 
It is Georgian architecture with it being well balanced when looked at from the front. 
The house was sold upon Prescott's death and was purchased again in 1931 by his great granddaughter Mary Allison Prescott. Of the 100 acres of the original property  she bought between 3 and 4 acres which included the house. She restored it back to its original look with a few modifications (electricity, bathroom and main floor kitchen). She and her sisters lived in it until 1970 when it became a museum owned by Nova Scotia. 
Mary Allison Prescott, Louise Prescott Billington and Agens Prescott lived in the house.
The main floor has 4 rooms coming off the central hall; three of which are opened to the public. Not all the furnishings are Charles Prescott's. Mary Allison bought a lot of the furniture and made sure it was period correct for the house. 

The Parlor

In some rooms there is a little alcove around one or both sides of the fireplace. 
The fireplaces in each room was the only heat for this grand old house when it was originally built. There seems to be water heating installed at a later date. 
The furnishings in the parlor were lovely. 
The many large windows in all the rooms were their main way of having light in the rooms during the day. Candles and oil lamps were used at night. Curtains were used to keep out the cold. Looking at the far window, one can see how thick the walls of this house is.  

Dining Room

When Mary Allison had the restoration done, she had electricity installed and you can see the tip of the chandelier in the above picture. 
A beautiful side board to match the table. 
And the fireplace. The pictures in the room were portraits of Prescott and his second wife. His first wife passed before the house was built. 
These lovely dishes were gorgeous and housed in the dining room. They did not match the dishes on the table. 

Drawing Room

Across the hall from the drawing room. It was noted that the ladies sat in there after dinner and drank their tea.
It was heated with another fireplace. 
We were told that often the furniture was pushed up against the walls, the rugs rolled up and they danced in this room. 
A dress worn by one of the Prescott sisters' aunt. It was found in the house. 
You can see the end of the fainting couch. 

Main Hallway

In the main hallway, there was a cabinet which was a gift to one of the sisters to display pewter. She received gifts of pewter to display on it. 
Displayed in another cabinet in the hallway was some dishes that were purchased in the 1930's. It wasn't clear if Mary Allison owned them.


There are 3 bedrooms and a nursery upstairs that come off the main hall. It should be noted that only the upstairs hall and bathroom had a ceiling light in it. Each of the bedrooms had one plug in when the house was restored. 


The nursery was quite small and had a small room off it. That little room had built in cupboards and no heat. One wonders if it was part of the nursery as it had a connecting door. 
This room had a fireplace.
And the bed was in a corner beside the fireplace. It was where the nanny slept. 
Some of the items on the mantle. 

The room off the nursery held a couple of displays. 
The sisters were involved with tea for the nurses of the area. 

Bedroom #1

The bed in this room was quite interesting as were some of the decorations. 
 There was a second candle stick in the room. 
This was sitting on a ledge on the wall beside the door. 

Bedroom #2

The four poster bed in this room was grand. The room, like all the bedrooms had a fireplace. 
This room seems to have a closet in it as seen behind the dressing screen. 
There was a bed warmer beside the fireplace. 

Bedroom #3 

Another beautiful four poster bed was seen in this room. Beside the bed was a writing desk. 
 Note the beautiful carving on the bed post. 
This room was quite large and was probably the master bedroom. 

The Main Hall

The main hall ran the length of the upstairs. It housed artifacts of the family. 
The clock was one of three in the house and this one is about 150 years old. 
A collection of items used by the ladies. 

Minatures that one of the sisters collected. 
 A relation that was in the army. This family member may have lived in Chester where a Prescott saved the community from privateering in the late 1700's.

Items that belonged to the family member. 
On the wall on the stair case was this map of the area. Many items of handwork done by the sisters are in Halifax to be restored. Their handwork is gorgeous but very dark to photograph. 
Up on the third level was the servants' bedrooms. It is closed to the public. 


Outside the house was a sundial. This is the third one we have seen. 

It was cloudy so we couldn't tell the time. 
There was a path going to a field and a rock hedge had been built. 
The hedge looking down into a field. 
The same hedge looking back up to the yard. 
When we walked down there, we saw a part of the apple orchard Thomas Prescott had planted. 
There is a lovely flower garden near the house which has steps going down into the lowest part. We had fun going up and down them. 

Four pictures that I thought were interesting were of apples. Thomas Prescott shared many cuttings from his apple trees to people far and near. 
 Port Williams is on the Avon River which flows into the Minas Basin. The Minas Basin flows into the Bay of Funday. 
By this point, the area had been producing apples for about 100 years. Today there are thousands of acres of apple orchards in the Annapolis Valley. 
The varieties of apple trees that Thomas Prescott had brought to his farm. Of these, the Gravenstein apples became the provincial favorite. Today it is the Honey Crisp apples that are the most popular. He also had many other fruit trees and exotic items brought from other parts of Canada, the US, and overseas. 
It has been fun going to these museums this summer and learning about people, their homes, and the areas they lived in. Next up - a working antique farm on Sept. 2.