Bridgewater Post Office

We were asked where the stone was quarried for the old Bridgewater post office on King St. Here’s our answer:

The old Bridgewater post office was designed by David Ewart and built in 1909 by builders Faulkner and MacDonald. It was built in the federal style, with the ground level windows featuring rounded tops and stone arches. It also has a Dentilled Cornice, which is the small tooth-like decorative block design that crowns the building. ("Dentil" comes from the Latin word for tooth.)

It used to have a copper-sheathed clock tower but it was removed in the 1950s. It served as a post office until 2010 and it has commercial space and some apartments now.

The foundation is made of local granite and the face is red sandstone. The municipal heritage listing says the sandstone was likely quarried in the Annapolis Valley. This is where our challenge starts!

There were some historical sandstone quarries in the Valley but they were generally small, short-lived, poorly-documented and relatively poor quality. They sometimes just operated for the duration of one project. This makes it hard to determine whether the Bridgewater post office stone came from there.

Almost all quarried sandstone in Nova Scotia came from the Amherst, Wallace and Pictou areas. Wallace was by far the biggest producer. Its stone is in many historical Nova Scotia buildings such as the legislature, and even in Ottawa’s parliament buildings. Wallace is still in operation today.

The Amherst Red Stone Quarry had distinctive sandstone that looks like a close match to the red stone in the Bridgewater post office. The quarry operated on James Donalds' farm, east of Willow St. from 1889-1914. It provided sandstone for many Amherst heritage buildings including Bank of Nova Scotia (built 1907), Trinity-St. Stephen’s (1906) and the First Baptist Church (1895). Today, the Amherst Red Stone Quarry is a lovely pond in a field (picture below).

There was also some reddish sandstone quarried in Pictou County but it is a much duller red than the Amherst rock – not a likely match for the Bridgewater post office.

The Bridgewater post office appears to be in good shape which suggests that the stone is good quality and came from a site like the Amherst quarry, not the Annapolis Valley.

Unfortunately, based on the information we found, we are not able to say definitively where the stone for the Bridgewater post office was quarried, but its quality and colour suggest the Amherst Red Stone Quarry was the likely source. See its story at