Jonathan Crowell House

64 Payzant Street, Liverpool

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

Not all Liverpool's eighteenth century houses are to be found on the road leading to Fort Point. Jonathan Crowell's house was probably erected in 1786 or shortly after. It stands just off the road to Port Mouton and Shelburne, a short distance beyond its junction with Main Street and the street that elbows away upriver to Milton.

The town's proprietors had laid out Liverpool's Town Plot a short way beyond Jonathan Crowell's five acre lot. On the Town Plot were to be found the Public Meeting House and the Jail. The town's merchants, wanting to keep an eye on their ships and stores very soon moved from the Town Plot, after building dwelling houses near their wharves on the road to Fort Point.

Jonathan Crowell, as a ship's carpenter, had no reason to move any farther than the five acre lot next to his father, Jonathan Crowell the weaver and a proprietor of the town. Crowell the carpenter shared the mill privilege with Capt. Collins and Capt. Freeman and the mill stream could not have been much closer. Crowell's narrow strip of land ran to the river bank. Only a short walk upstream lay Shipyard Point.

His house catches the eye because of the trim gambrel roof which unexpectedly descends to the rear as a pitched roof. It was not always a lean-to. In the attic under the pitched roof can still be seen the framing timbers of the original full gambrel. The boards of this lean-to are wide and laid longitudinally.

The house is built around a central chimney with fireplaces on three sides. On the fourth side a stair rises from the small front hall. The kitchen takes up most of the rear section of the house with smaller rooms set off on each side. The front dormers are likely original since the greater headroom of the gambrel roof lends well to this type of window.

Jonathan Crowell's house was furnished more simply than those of the shipowners on the way to Fort Point for whom he shaped spars. When he died in 1835, he left eleven chairs (four with round backs) a desk, four tables, window curtains, a looking glass and twenty-five pounds of feathers.

In the middle of the nineteenth century another Crowell revamped the house, so that the front room mantelpieces date from that period. Some changes have been made in the present century, but the basic qualities of the eighteenth century New England house remain.