dockThis Georgian townhouse was built around 1845 by Squire James Fraser and is one of the oldest commercial structures in Nova Scotia. Squire Fraser’s full name was James Fraser Drummond and in 1825 he opened a general store on George Street. By the early 1840s this building also served as a Post Office with Squire Fraser as postmaster. The story goes that one day in 1867 a letter addressed to Squire James Fraser arrived. It was notification of the appointment of James Fraser to the Legislative Council of Nova Scotia. The dilemma was there were two James Frasers involved in the local political scene. James Fraser Drummond (the postmaster) and James Fraser Downie were both merchants and prominent Conservatives. Downie had the added qualifications of having been elected to the Legislative Assembly in 1863-67 and might have been seen as the more likely appointee. However, the letter was received by Drummond, who made no mention of it to Downie and without delay rode his horse to Halifax and was sworn into office.

James Fraser Drummond held the title of Squire because he was appointed judge of the Court of Sessions and a justice of the peace. He was also a member of a municipal governing group prior to the formation of the Town Council, but he cherished most his title as Chief of the Clan Fraser in British North America. When Squire Fraser died in 1884, he had amassed a fortune of about $10 million in today’s currency. His son, Thomas carried on the business and by 1906, this property passed out of family hands to Thomas Munroe, a local jeweler and another James Fraser, the editor of the Eastern Chronicle newspaper. In 1895 this building was occupied by Siveright and Co., dealers in Earthenware China and Fancy Goods. In 1916, Squire Fraser’s was the office and publishing house of the Eastern Chronicle and in 1955 it was home to Hector Publishing and CKEC Radio. In more recent times it was home to a law firm and real estate office. Carmel & Wayne Margeson opened The Dock as an old world style pub in 1996 and bought the building in 1999.

The solid stone construction—smooth on the front and rough on the sides—reflects the distinct Scottish character of this building. For reasons of architectural distinctiveness, its role in the commercial foundation of the community and its relationship to noteworthy persons and events, Squire Fraser’s Place is among the first of New Glasgow’s designated municipal heritage sites.