Established in 1830, Schmidoville (Schmidt’s Ville) was one of the first suburbs outside of the town of Halifax’s fortified fences. Today, it stands as a largely intact area of architectural character. It is a tangible link to the early social and economic life of the city and a living, active record of the community and it’s residents.
THE STORY OF CAPT. SCHMIDT AND PEDLEY’S FIELDS
Christian Wilhelm Schmidt of Rottenburg, Germany, was a 22 year old captain in King George III’s Royal Foreign Artillery. He arrived in Halifax with the influx of United Empire Loyalists during the aftermath of the American Revolutionary War. He settled and married Elizabeth Pedley, the daughter of James Pedley.
James Pedley was a merchant and substantial land owner, originally from Birmingham, England. In 1781, he purchased 12 acres of grazing land to the southwest of the fortified town. James Pedley died in 1807. In his will, Pedley bequeathed much of his property, known as Pedley’s Fields, to his daughter, Elizabeth on the explicit understanding that her husband Christian not have any “concern, interest, control or management whatsoever, of the bequests.”
People revered Christian Schmidt at his death as “a brave and zealous officer, faithful to his King and Country.”
THE RICH ARCHITECTURAL HERITAGE OF SCHMIDTVILLE
In 1830, two years after her husband’s death, Elizabeth Schmidt subdivided Pedley’s Field into 79 building plots. By 1837, the area was substantially developed, extending from Morris Street, north to Spring Garden Road and from Dresden Row to Queen Street. This suburb became known as Schmidt’s Ville with a distinctively Georgian architecture.
The Georgian architectural style is simpler and less adorned than the buildings of the later Victorian era. However, greater affluence eventually led to the introduction of more decorated Victorian building which complement the original neighbourhood with more ornate architectural elements, including Mansard roofs and ornamental details.
The neighbourhood is characterized by the distinctive mirror-image houses consisting of two identical houses under a single roof with dormers. These dwellings are typical of what was built (in stone) in Northern Britain from about 1700. The Victorian class structure is revealed in the layout of the neighbourhood. Upper class homes area located along the main streets of Queen, South Park and Morris while the homes of the traditional middle and lower classes are largely confined to the original blocks of Clyde, Dresden Row and Birmingham.