Sherrif Mulhall House

419 Main Street, Liverpool

The following is taken, with permission, from South Shore; Seasoned Timbers, Vol. 2, Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia, 1974:

The front door of Sheriff Mulhall's house gives a fair indication of the mixture of styles to be found within. Eclecticism had come to Liverpool, as to the rest of North America. The balance of the doorway is reflected in the symmetrical layout of rooms flanking the central hallway that runs through the house. And what a hallway it is, terminating in a graceful hanging staircase, the wall itself curved behind it. The two front rooms form a whole, running from one bay window to the other.

Quatrefoils which give the front door a slightly ecclesiastical air are found again shaping the columnettes set between each window of the sitting room bays. A pair of marble mantlepieces, one black, one white, add a Victorian opulence to a handsome set of high ceilinged rooms, but to step down the hall to the dining room is to return to the late eighteenth century. There, on either side of the fireplace, are two elliptical arched recesses. The total effect is delightfully harmonious.

The house was the result of the Great Conflagration of September 1865. Liverpool suffered many fires throughout the nineteenth century, with only one fire engine to fight them, and it is something of a miracle that so many of her early dwellings have survived. John H. Mulhall's house was one of fourteen buildings to be levelled by the flames. The Transcript's account is an exciting one. A more sober account the following month reported that to obtain accommodation in Liverpool "is now an utter impossibility".

House plans for the Morton house near Milton are said to have been lent to John Mulhall in order to get a roof over his family's heads more quickly. If so, the plans were very freely adapted. D.C. Mulhall, who later became High Sheriff of Queens County, was the first child born in the house, though it could only have been roughly finished in 1866.

When it was completely finished, an ornate railing crowned the highest point of the roof, and a verandah effectively screened the first floor of the house. Later, the verandah was removed. Stylized anthemion trim was then revealed over the windows to add yet another element to the design of the house.