The Boultenhouse Heritage Centre Museum, located at 29 Queens Road in Sackville, is a unique residence consisting of two distinct buildings: a Georgian-style house built around 1790 by the Bulmer family and a Greek Revival house constructed around 1840 by Christopher Boultenhouse. The historic house and property sit atop a hill, overlooking Boultenhouse’s former shipyard near the historic Captain’s Corner at the intersection of Queens Road and Main Street in Sackville.
The Boultenhouse Heritage Centre has been designated a Local Historic Place for its architectural style, which combines two separate houses from different time periods, as well as its associations with George Bulmer, Christopher Boultenhouse, and Captain Stephen Atkinson.
The earlier Bulmer house, located at the rear of the property and oriented towards present-day Dufferin Street, dates back to 1789-91 according to the Mount Allison University Dendrochronology Lab. This 1½-story, wood-shingled Georgian-style house features two rooms separated by a chimney, an entry with a staircase in front of the chimney, and attic story windows on the second floor.
The later Boultenhouse structure, dating to 1839-41, was added to the Bulmer house and faces Queens Road, a newly constructed street in the 1840s. This Greek Revival house showcases a symmetrical front with a Palladian window on the second floor, a door surround with a rectangular transom, prominent sidelights flanking a double Christian door, panelled pilasters, and a wide band of trim forming a triangular pediment centered with a fanlight window in the gable end.
George Bulmer, who immigrated to England with the Charles Dixon family as part of a significant Yorkshire immigration in the 1770s, had thirteen children with Susannah Dixon. After purchasing a large tract of land, now part of present-day Sackville, George passed away in 1841 at the age of 82, and the family dispersed the land.
Christopher Boultenhouse, along with his father Bedford and brother William, began building ships as early as 1824 on their family property at Wood Point. A large landowner, Christopher relocated his shipbuilding operations to Sackville by 1840, establishing a shipyard near the wharf at the Tantramar River bend. He acquired the homestead property from the Bulmer descendants in 1842. Over the years, Christopher Boultenhouse built more than 53 vessels at various shipyards, ranging from small schooners like the 40-ton Ellen to the 1267-ton Empress. When he passed away in 1876, The Chignecto Post reported that he had been deeply involved in the area’s business affairs for over fifty years and was one of the pioneers of the shipbuilding industry, with operations ranking among the country’s largest.
Captain Stephen Atkinson purchased the homestead property in 1881. He oversaw the construction of two ships, the Robert Godfrey and the Mary E. Chapman, and crossed the North Atlantic in them multiple times. He concluded his career by obtaining his steamship exam and pilot license, covering the coast from New York to the Gulf of St. Lawrence and serving as the master of the New York Sun dispatch boat during the Spanish-American War.
The Atkinson family owned the property until 1950, when they sold the remaining homestead to the Board of School Trustees. The Tantramar Heritage Trust later acquired the property, which had been reduced in size, in 2001.
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