Here is a selection from the Griffin Quarterly.
Richmond Hill Farm
Windsor, Nova Scotia
One of the aims set out in the Trust's original charter was "to acquire and preserve buildings and sites which are appropriate and to encourage and assist in the preservation and acquisition thereof." However, it was not until 1977 that Heritage Trust, which had so often advised heritage property owners and urged them to preserve their buildings, became, through a bequest, the owner of a heritage house and about seventy acres of land, located in Windsor, Nova Scotia.
The Trust's benefactor was Helen Tremaine Macdonald, widow of Col. Gordon F. Macdonald, RCA. She died July 19,1976, and in her will left Heritage Trust "the lands and buildings known as Richmond Hill House" and an endowment of $346,924, the income from which was to be used "for the purpose of maintaining and operating the said property as one of historic interest as long as the same may be deemed possible and advisable." Since passing to the Trust, the property has reverted to its original designation as Richmond Hill Farm.
The first deed to mention buildings on the land, is dated 1842. Through the years the farm had several owners, and by the time the Macdonalds bought the property in 1949, the house had fallen into disrepair. The Macdonalds upgraded the house, adding a garage, porte-cochere, new bathrooms and kitchen.
The house has a dramatic but exposed setting on top of a hill, with splendid views of fields and the Avon River. Simple and symmetrical, it is basically Georgian in character, but has been added to over the years. It has two cellars: an earlier, rubble walled cellar, thought to be Acadian in origin, and a larger one covering three-quarters of the space. The house was probably built in the early 1830's, and the bay windows were added some time in the mid 1840's.
The house is built on a central hall plan with a central staircase. There are also stairs leading to the attic floor from the room that was once the kitchen and is now the sitting room. To the left of the front door is the living room, beyond it the dining room and galley kitchen. To the right of the front door is a library and beyond it the former kitchen. It has a back door, a large fireplace and bake oven. Upstairs are the bedrooms and bathrooms with attics above.
In the Fall of 1977, the late architect, Jon Murray, MRAIC, prepared a report, including how to stabilize and save the house from further deterioration. By January 1979, Allan F. Duffus, chair of the property committee, was able to report to the board of directors that the restoration was essentially complete as provided for to the end of 1978. "The building is stabilized, insulation complete and the interior renovated." The porte-cochere and the garage had also been removed.
In addition to ongoing maintenance, several larger rehabilitation projects have been undertaken including: a new septic tank, landscaping, new furnace, and tree removal.
On July 20, 1991, members of Heritage Trust gathered at Richmond Hill Farm to witness the unveiling of a plaque designating the house a provincial heritage property.
Since 1992, the Trust has been fortunate to have Beverly and Bob Miller as tenants. The Millers are involved in a number of ways with maintenance and have painted all of the rooms in the house and planted a large number of trees. They alert Douglas Price, chair of the property committee, of any problems so that they can be promptly rectified.
In June 1998, a red oak was planted at Richmond Hill in memory of Allan F. Duffus, a longtime member of the property committee, who was deeply involved in the acquisition and care of Richmond Hill Farm.