Thursday, 18 September 2014

Keeler Family Houses

When I was a young boy, I would listen to my cousin, Sister Mary Martin (the elderly daughter of the late Dr. John P. Martin, Dartmouth's town historian), tell stories about an old Dartmouth family, the Keelers. Although I had zero previous knowledge of world-famous 1930s actress (Turner Classic Movies Database - Ruby Keeler) Ruby Keeler (originally from Dartmouth), I could at least relate to the location of the Keeler homesteads in the Crichton Avenue area. If you are not very familiar with the geography of Dartmouth, Crichton Avenue runs parallel to Lake Banook from the bottom of Maple Street (one of the "flower and tree" streets below Brightwood Golf and Country Club and in between the Dartmouth Commons and the Sullivan's Pond area) to around Micmac Mall. I have described the history of the name of Crichton Avenue in two previous blog posts (see Coloured Meeting House Road  and Street Name Origins).

Lakes, Salt Marshes and the Narrow Green Strip: Some Historic Buildings in Dartmouth and Halifax County's Eastern Shore (Heritage Trust of Nova Scotia, 1979) is a small book jam-packed with information on old houses in the Dartmouth region. Fortunately, pages fourteen and fifteen deal with the Keeler family and their houses:

"The oldest of the houses, "Mount Pleasant", was on the farm side of the road (today's Crichton Avenue) and is still called the "Keeler Homestead". This house is now #16 Lakeview Avenue and was built about 1801. It is easy to distinguish as it sits cornerwise to the present street. It is a wooden house of the saltbox type and fairly large. It has a stone basement with stone stairs. Most of the floors are constructed of wide pine boards. There is a small addition at the back and the porch has definitely been added. The house is in very good condition. It was occupied by members of the Keeler family until 1957, when it was sold to Gerald Bonang. The present owners (1979) are the Mugfords, who are very pleased to own such an historic home."

"The other Keeler houses are all on Crichton Avenue. The large white house at the corner of Hillside (Avenue and Crichton Avenue) is called "The Birches" and was the home of George Keeler, then of his son Roy, and is now (1979) owned by the Winders. Ernest Keeler lives (1979) in another large white house at 177 Crichton Avenue. Both these houses are over 100 years old. Number 173 Crichton Avenue was also a Keeler house but since 1935 has been the home of Miss Eva Duncan."

Former Keeler family home (known as "Mount Pleasant" and the "Keeler Homestead" and built circa 1801). 16 Lakeview Avenue, Dartmouth. Photo: David Jones, September 2014.

Keeler family home. 177 Crichton Avenue, Dartmouth. Photo: David Jones, September 2014.



  1. my friend paul keeler lived there

  2. my friend paul keeler lived there he teaches at smu now

  3. As I mentioned on the "Born and Raised In Dartmouth, N.S. and Proud of It" site, I have always had an interest in the development of the Crichton Park area which of course includes the Keeler properties and farms.
    I went to school with Paul Keeler who lived in the house pictured above at 177 Crichton Ave. I am also interested in the development of the Crichton Park land above the Keeler Properties between Mt. Pleasant Ave. and Woodland Ave. Guy Richards owned the land and sold it off piece by piece to create the rest of the Crichton Park area. Always wondered who owned the land before he purchased it. I know the Clarke family owned land and farms in the Woodland Ave. area but don't know if their land extended far enough to adjoin the Keeler properties. Always another "mystery".

  4. David maybe you could do a blog on the Dartmouth Police Reserve. My Grandfather Howard Hamm was a member and wore badge #9. Have the Badge in my possession but no details.During the Magazine explosion Grandfather was on duty

  5. Do you know if Hawthorne school was damaged in the halifax explosion?