Matthew McClearn House

82 Main Street, Liverpool

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

Matthew McClearn received a deed for his land in 1831, but his new house was not ready for occupancy until 1848. Matthew McClearn had begun life as a farmer's son in Port Mouton, but by the time he was 26 he was a master of Liverpool vessels sailing to the West Indies.

In 1831, aged 29, he acquired a waterfront property in order to settle down to married life as a Liverpool merchant, with his own wharf and warehouse. Typically, he exported salt fish and lumber. importing flour, meal, molasses, salt and other foodstuffs for his wholesale and retail business. The importation of foodstuffs was essential to Liverpool where "broken, rocky, barren country surrounded a port" built on a fertile enough site, but one only large enough for kitchen gardens and pasturage.

In 1843, this businessman-sailor bought the schooner Dolphin to run the packet service to Halifax. The year he moved into his new house he replaced her with the Liverpool.

His house has been much admired. The late Halifax architect, Andrew Cobb, who had a real appreciation of the province's domestic architecture, used its proportions when designing a house for a Halifax client in the 1930's.

Typical of Liverpool houses, two pairs of rooms flank the entrance hall. The southeast room, as befits a former parlour, retains its cornice and neat wood panels under each window. The upper corner of the door

surrounds are ornamented with round bosses centered on a wooden spike, (miniature Greek shields in effect). Like all the first floor rooms, it is light and airy with nine foot ceilings. Each room was heated by coal burning grates set in handsome fireplaces, a large stove stood in a curve in the end of the hall. The kitchen behind the curve is not unusual in having a bake oven, but is perhaps unique in this period in having the oven set in the back wall of the cooking fireplace. Outside, the five-sided Scottish dormers are set in a low roof; inside the carpenter extended them to the floor to allow head room or chair space.

Captain McClearn lived here until 1865 when, at the age of 63, he took a trip to Tobago on one of his vessels. There he contracted yellow fever and died.