Rose Arbor, a two-story Queen Anne Revival residence with consistent massing, was constructed by Jordan Steeves in 1887 for the newly appointed medical practitioner in Hillsborough, Dr. Bliss A. Marven. The exterior has experienced minimal alterations, with the exception of a two-story Craftsman style veranda featuring columns that was added to the front façade around 1920.
Rose Arbor is notable for its significant connection to its first owner, Dr. Bliss A. Marven (1861-1938), who was born in Great Shemogue, Westmorland County. Initially a teacher and principal at the Port Elgin Superior School, he changed professions and obtained his medical degree from the University of Vermont in 1886. Dr. Marven began his practice in Hillsborough the same year and held positions such as chairman of the local school board, county coroner, and port physician for both Hillsborough and Hopewell Cape. He was the eldest of five brothers, with George and Edgar becoming physicians as well, while Joseph A. Marven achieved remarkable business success in Eastern Canada during the first half of the 20th century with Marven’s Biscuit Co.
The home is also valued for being an excellent example of Queen Anne Revival residential architecture with subsequent Craftsman additions. This style is evident mainly through features that disrupt the flatness of the exterior walls, such as an assortment of bay and box windows, and diverse sheathing materials. The colored band that divides the two stories also visually creates horizontal breaks on the wall surface. The two-story veranda on the front façade is consistent with the Craftsman style popular during the 1920s.
The interior atmosphere has remained largely unaltered over time, featuring polished wood, heavy drapes, broad crown moldings, four-meter-high ceilings, and period furniture that firmly situates rooms like the double parlors in the Victorian era. The twin parlors can be separated by a folding oak divider, and a circular dais in the front corner served as Dr. Marven’s waiting room, with a flight of stairs leading to his office below. The well-preserved ambiance allows one to easily envision patients nervously anticipating their appointments with the esteemed doctor.
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