Shelburne Doors

Sometimes you don’t have to travel very far to be blown away by your own history. We took a little drive. About 2 hours south. To the town of Shelburne, Nova Scotia.

Here, we wandered along Historic Dock Street.

Shelburne has an interesting history. During the American Revolution pro-British refugees (Loyalists) gathered in New York. The wealthier classes went to England while others sought refuge here, in Nova Scotia.

In 1783, four hundred such families associated to form the Town of Shelburne (named after the British Prime Minister). Within a year the population of the town mushroomed to 10,000.

The fledging town was not prepared and could not support so large a settlement. Most of the refugees moved on to other parts of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, or on to England. Some returned to the United States.

But of those who stayed, many focused their entrepreneurial spirit into this Nova Scotia town, infusing it with a distinctly New England flavour.

This door takes you into what maybe the last remaining commercial barrel factory in Canada. Traditionally, barrels were used to store and transport fish, food and other items and the staves and hoops were from this factory were exported in huge quantities. Today, are used to store salt bait for the lobster industry.

Across the street is The Coopers Inn. The house was originally built for George Gracie, a blind Loyalist who started the first whaling company in Shelburne.

Next door is a lovely example of a Greek Revival building. I love the storm doors.

The next building was, during the 1780’s, the home and tavern of Patrick McDonough – who was also the customs officer.

On the water side of the street, is a dory shop where the wooden boats are still built to order. It’s part of the Shelburne Historical Society complex.

A glance up Charlotte Lane.

This impressive structure (with a relatively modest door) was the store and warehouse of George A. Cox, an (obviously) prominent merchant. He constructed his own vessels and carried on an extensive world trade.

A former store front on Ann Street.

This former mill is under restoration. That’s good news as it looks like most of the foundation is missing!

The mill is part of the Muir-Cox shipyard which was in almost continuous operation from the 1800’s to 1984. The property launched everything from square riggers and schooners to motorized rum runners, minesweepers and luxury yachts.

The shipyards of Shelburne produced whale boats, life boats, row boats and canoes which were exported to Newfoundland, Bermuda, Ontario, Quebec, the Arctic and the United States. In 1928-29 one boat shop shipped 29 rail cars of boats to Northern Ontario and Quebec in what is believed to be the largest shipment of boats in Canada. Seriously? I had no idea! This waterfront must have been booming.

It was a short visit. But we’ll be back again to visit pretty little Shelburne (pop. 1743) and her intriguing Doors. It seems that she has more stories to tell.


20 thoughts on “Shelburne Doors

  1. pierrmorgan September 22, 2017 / 3:24 am

    Ha! Love the cat door…

  2. Osyth September 22, 2017 / 6:26 am

    I feel all rosy and calm for that delightful mooch! The cat door is a witty treasure. ๐Ÿˆ

  3. Joanne Sisco September 22, 2017 / 11:09 am

    You hit the mother lode of doors on this visit!! From your photos, it looks like a beautiful, well-kept town. It’s interesting how a couple of the doors are recessed, but not quite enough to qualify as a real landing … like the yellow one on the purple building. There’s actually 3 doors on that one … something I’ve never seen!

    … and yes, the cat door made me laugh ๐Ÿ˜€

    • JanetRimmington September 22, 2017 / 11:19 am

      Yes! I was struck by the same thing with the recessed doors. I thought they perhaps because these doorways face the harbour (and so the weather) these are designed as little storm porches. Just a guess. I like them though! ๐Ÿ˜

      • Joanne Sisco September 22, 2017 / 1:20 pm

        I had the same thought … a small oasis from the weather before stepping inside the front door. Makes a lot of sense to me and I wonder why we don’t see more of them.

      • JanetRimmington September 22, 2017 / 1:25 pm

        Practical and beautiful. Maybe we should see more. I always thought that opening the door straight into your living room (50’s/60’s bungalow) in February was a sort of cruelty.

  4. sustainabilitea September 22, 2017 / 1:20 pm

    Wow, what a beautiful, well-kept place, Janet! Thanks for taking us on a tour. It looks to me like the recessed doors provide a small porch or shelter from the wind that’s probably quite cold in winter and also from rain. I found it interesting that there are shutters as storm doors. Very cool.


    • JanetRimmington September 22, 2017 / 1:26 pm

      So very glad to have you Ali g for the walk. โ˜บ๏ธ

  5. Judy @ NewEnglandGardenAndThread September 22, 2017 / 8:54 pm

    What an amazing collection of beautiful doors along with a history lesson. Doors of various sizes and colors. I loved it. A+

  6. Manja Mexi Movie September 23, 2017 / 8:50 pm

    What a splendid door-filled visit. But the last one is just aaaaaaaaaah!!

    • JanetRimmington September 23, 2017 / 10:28 pm

      Hahaha!! That cat door is good, isn’t it!? I think I want one…..

  7. prior.. September 29, 2017 / 2:37 am

    thanks for the history and variety of colorful doors – enjoyed every one

    • JanetRimmington September 30, 2017 / 7:42 pm

      I’m so glad you could come along (virtually) and enjoyed the tour. ๐Ÿ˜

      • prior.. October 1, 2017 / 4:46 am


  8. dennyho October 2, 2017 / 11:58 pm

    What a cache of doors! The first and last are my favorites. Would love to see a kitty using the kitty door.

  9. Kelly MacKay October 22, 2017 / 12:06 am

    I have been following a Loyalist trail around NB. I hope to have a story soon. Cheers Janet

    • JanetRimmington October 22, 2017 / 2:45 am

      Interesting!!! I’m looking forward to hearing about it! ๐Ÿ˜

      • Kelly MacKay October 22, 2017 / 2:53 am

        I still have a few more places to visit to link it all together, but most of my research is complete. It has been very interesting.

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