About the Inn

Victoria’s Historic Inn, formerly known as the Chase House is a large, two-and-one-half story, wood structure with a steeply pitched roof and ornately decorated gables, entranceways, and windows. Situated on an elevated plot of land, the house is located on the corner of Robie Tufts Drive and Main Street, Wolfville, NS. It is a Canadian Registered Historic Site and the building only is included in the designation.

Heritage Value

The historical value of Chase House lies in its elaborate Vernacular-style architecture and in its association with it's original owner, William Henry Chase.

The architectural features of Chase House are virtually unaltered from their original late-nineteenth-century design. The house blends elements of Gothic and Stick architectural styles. The Gothic elements include massive gables and ornate porch and eave bargeboard designs. The Stick elements include pointed dormers and balustrades on the front gable windows and above the side entranceway. The extravagant woodwork showcased throughout the inn’s external architecture is also a feature of this style.

Originally built by William Henry Chase as a private residence in 1893, Chase House has functioned as an inn since 1945. A pioneer of the apple exporting industry in the Annapolis Valley, Chase is remembered as one of the most successful – and wealthiest – Nova Scotians of his day.

At the height of his career in the early 1900s, Chase, sometimes referred to as the “Apple King,” was the largest apple producer in Nova Scotia and the largest supplier of barrelled apples in the world. A millionaire, he is said to have been the Bank of Canada in the Valley and had mortgages on several farms in the area. Chase started his export business in Port Williams, where he worked at his father’s general store and began, at the age of eighteen, making profits shipping potatoes to the West Indies.

Beyond his business ventures, Chase contributed to community life in Wolfville by serving on Wolfville’s Town Council, acting as president of the board of trade, and teaching Sunday School at Wolfville’s Presbyterian Church. His philanthropic work included donations toward the construction of the Eastern Kings Memorial Hospital and contributions that established the former Public Archives of Nova Scotia building at Dalhousie University, which opened in 1931.

Source: Town of Wolfville Heritage Property Program files, Chase House file.

Character Defining Elements

Character-defining elements of Chase House relate to its blend of Gothic and Stick architecture and include:

  • Clapboard siding
  • Steep-pitched roof
  • Asymmetrical façade with three bay windows
  • Gabled central and side entrances
  • Ornate window trim
  • Decorated projecting eaves with brackets and trim on gables and dormers
  • Ornate bargeboards on overhanging gables
  • Decorative balustrades on gable windows and side entrance
  • Decorative projecting woodwork on gables and bay windows
  • Dentils along cornices, including those of the side and front entrances
  • Multiple string courses running the circumference of the house and above side gables.

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