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The History of the Annapolis Heritage Society

The Annapolis Heritage Society dates back to 1965 when a number of local residents organized under the name Historic Restoration Enterprises for the purpose of “leasing, purchasing, demolishing, building and otherwise acquiring for preservation and display to the general public fine examples of the historic past of Nova Scotia.”

The group’s focus was “one of the oldest streets in Canada, a section of Lower Saint George Street in downtown Annapolis Royal…Dauphin Street, as it was originally called.” Nine years later, in 1974, the group signed the documents incorporating the Historic Restoration Enterprises of Annapolis County Society. They had among their objectives to:

  • foster and encourage interest in and restoration of buildings and sites of an historic and cultural nature within Annapolis County
  • acquire and restore buildings, sites, artifacts and records which are appropriate to this end.

While the intent remained the same, the name of the Society was changed in 1977 to the Historic Restoration Society of Annapolis County.

O'Dell Opening

This photo was taken at the official opening of the O’Dell House Museum. Among those in attendance were Dr. Jack Kerr (standing at right of the door, giving a speech), Dr. Barry Moody (standing at left of the door) and Marguerite Wagner (standing with her back to the camera, wearing period costume).

In the 1960s and 70s, the Society purchased what is now the O’Dell House Museum and acquired additional properties on Lower St. George Street (originally rue Dauphin) as an interim measure to preserve as much as possible of the early streetscape.

The buildings included the late 18th century Robertson, Bonnett and Murray houses and the Victorian Pickels and Mills ships’ chandlery. With the exception of the O’Dell House, those properties are now privately owned. The Society continues its innovative development of the Sinclair Inn Museum, a National Historic Site…an active commercial and hotel presence in Port Royal/Annapolis Royal from the 17th to the 20th centuries.

Recognizing the wealth of heritage resources resulting from 400 years of European settlement and the pre-dating Mi’kmaq occupation, the Society has continued to broaden its activities and now includes artifacts, genealogical and archival holdings, photo and costume collections and active heritage programming. In 2004, in recognition that the Society was now engaged in a range of activities far beyond the ownership and restoration of buildings, the name was changed once more — to the Annapolis Heritage Society.