Old Album, Number Eleven: An Abundance of Gables

This is the eleventh album selected from my little collection of photos, arranged in more or less chronological order. These slides were taken in the 1970s and early 80s.

I started snapping photos of old shops while I was working on the restoration project at Sherbrooke Village. The images were useful visual references as we restored similar 19th-century commercial structures. My enduring enthusiasm for buildings that present their gable end to the street developed quickly.

The height of joy was reserved for examples like this intact shop front, with a traditional painting scheme, and an original sign. The light was perfect too.

Barton, Digby County, photo late 1970s

Revel in the similarities and differences in the following one and a half story compositions. Some of the buildings probably date back to the 1860s.

River John, photo 1976

Great Village, photo c1980

Great Village, photo c1980

Canning, photo 1982

In larger shops a third floor could be an opportunity to include a fancier window up in the gable.

Many of these shops might have originally had shutters for their display windows. River John, photo 1976

My friend Deb Trask identified this Mahone Bay wonder for me (I had forgotten where it was). She also reported it burned down in 2007. Photo 1977

Brick is such a rarity in the Nova Scotia countryside that this example in Maccan feels like it belongs somewhere else. A community store with a gas pump harkens back to an earlier time.

Photo 1983

In the header there is another shot of this building looking forlorn on a chilly winter day. It was across the cove from Freeport on Long Island, Digby County.

Photo 1983

A commercial building at the corner in Caledonia, Queens County retained some lacy bargeboard but was in decline when this photo was taken in 1977. Demolished about ten years ago.

Photo 1977

In larger towns a gable end building could get quite large, as seen in Kentville.


New Life

This style of gable-fronted shop fits very comfortably into our landscapes and is well suited to new uses. In 1976 picturesque Bear River still supported this drug store.

Photo 1976

Last summer when we stopped in Bear River our drug of choice were delicious fish tacos served in Tacocat Taqyeria, a contemporary use of that old building. And what an astoundingly beautiful setting.

Photo 2021

The delightful shop that started this post appears to have been moved and today is clearly loved. Google shows it now attached to a residence with a grand view of St Mary’s Bay.

Old Album, Number One
Old Album, Number Two

Old Album, Number Three
Old Album, Number Four
Old Album, Number Five
Old Album, Number Six
Old Album, Number Seven
Old Album, Number Eight
Old Album, Number Nine
Old Album, Number Ten

About the author

Stephen Archibald

It’s Stephen Archibald doing the noticing. I’m a huge fan of Nova Scotia’s material culture and cultural landscapes. Twitter (@Cove17 ) made me realize I could share what attracted my attention (perfect for my very short attention) and I’m gratified when folks enjoy my content. Pleased to meet you on the internet.