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In March 1981, Lunenburg Town Council adopted a Heritage Property By-law. The By-law empowers the Town to designate Heritage Properties, which may consist of buildings, streetscapes, or areas of historical or architectural significance, and gives the Town a measure of control over the substantial alteration or demolition of those properties. The purpose of adopting the By-law was to conserve the well recognized, but increasingly poorly respected and steadily eroding historical character of the Town.

Following the adoption of the By-law, a Heritage Advisory Committee was formed and this Committee began to look at the various questions of which properties to designate and what degree of control to place upon them with regard to architectural alterations. The Committee quickly recognized that, while there are many outstanding individual properties in the Town, with well documented histories and outstanding architectural characteristics, there are many others about which little is known but which are of no less importance as elements of the unique flavor and character of the Town’s historic districts. It was recognized also that there were many gaps in the information available to the Committee and that, indeed, there was not sufficient information available to enable the designation process to be carried out fairly or without arbitrary decision-making. It was decided, therefore, that a comprehensive study of all of the Town’s old buildings should be undertaken.

In October 1981, a grant proposal and study design for the “Heritage Resource Study” was prepared jointly by the Advisory Committee and the Lunenburg County District Planning Commission and was submitted to the N.S. Department of Culture, Recreation and Fitness. The Study was to consist of three elements--an inventory of buildings with photos and historical and architectural information; an evaluation report with recommendations for buildings, streetscapes, or areas to be designated; and a ‘management guidelines’ document outlining the do’s and don’ts of architectural compatibility and the process approval under the Heritage Property By-law.

In April 1982, the grant was approved. Researchers were hired and the Study commenced in June 1982. Background research and comprehensive photography were carried out over the latter part of 1982 and early1983 and information was gathered on more than 600 buildings. That information is recorded in detail in the Heritage Resource Study files and was synthesized into the inventory that you are now reading during 1983 and early 1984. Part Two, the evaluation and the designation report, and Part Three, Management Guidelines, will be available in mid 1984.

This inventory is conceived not only as a compendium of background information upon which future designation decisions will be based, but as a rather more popularized, non-technical inventory as well. It is intended to give the Lunenburg resident an understanding of the richness of the built heritage of the Town and, hopefully, to encourage sympathy for the heritage conservation exercise at hand. Also it is hoped that the inventory will appeal to the more general reader as well. For this purpose, a general historical introduction to the Town is provided along with maps and sketches designed to orient the reader geographically. A summary is also included (under “Research Sources”) of the more detailed information and documents, which were used in the course of research and which are consolidated in the Heritage Resource Study files. These files are available to the interested reader and are available through the Lunenburg Town Hall.

Also, a glossary of architectural terms as they relate to Lunenburg’s historical architecture is included for the reader who may not already be versed in this realm.

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