The Evergreen Story

Evergreen’s story arose from a tragedy. Lawyer Alexander James and his wife Harriet Hawthorn, after losing 8 children to disease, moved to the “country” to escape the unsanitary conditions of the downtown areas. James commissioned famed local architect Henry Elliot to design the new home, and Evergreen was completed in 1867. With their remaining three children, the couple began a new life where Alexander James became a Provincial Court Judge, the Schoolmaster of Dartmouth, the head of the Regatta Committee and the head of the Mechanics Institute (an early form of a trades school). Evergreen also was host to many a visit from the famous Joseph Howe as the Judge and Howe were known friends.

Evergreen House was later home to nationally acclaimed Nova Scotian folklorist, Dr. Helen Creighton. In 1928, Helen began collecting the folklore of the Maritime provinces and would enjoy a career that brought her international recognition and earned her the title, “Canada’s First Lady of Folklore”. With Evergreen as her base of operations and home office, Helen collected songs like “Farewell to Nova Scotia”, along with stories, beliefs, superstitions, cures, folk ways and history. She published this wealth of knowledge in numerous books. In an age when many rural homes lacked electricity, Helen also invited local singers to Evergreen to record their songs.

Helen Creighton’s folk song collection is legendary—approximately 16,000 songs and variants, but she is perhaps best known for her collection of tales of superstition. Her book, “Bluenose Ghosts”, continues to be a Canadian best seller. Local residents still remember coming to Evergreen on Halloween and being met by Helen dressed in a witch costume and telling ghost stories. It was also here in Evergreen that she had many paranormal experiences and heard three knocks, a “forerunner” of tragedy.

In 1978, Helen Creighton sold Evergreen to the City of Dartmouth, who purchased it with the support of the Nova Scotia Museum. The house is currently interpreted in its original Victorian style and is an impressive example of a mid-Victorian gentleman’s residence. The house is furnished with period antiques from the Museum’s collection and commands a fine view of Halifax Harbour.

Today, Evergreen is both a historic home open to the public as well as the headquarters of the Dartmouth Heritage Museum administration.


The Booth at Evergreen

Welcome to The Booth! Originally a servants hallway, we’ve repurposed this small closet into a recording studio for the public to use. Equipped with two microphones, recording software, and a soundboard to help you record, this sound booth is also home to our upcoming secret audio project! (To Be Announced August 20th, 2021.) 

Contact us for more info on how to book the booth!

DHM Locations Map


26 Newcastle Street
Dartmouth NS B2Y 3M5


Current Hours: Tuesday to Friday, 10am-5pm

In keeping with public health advice and due to our limited space, we will only be able to welcome in one (1) household bubble in at a time, up to maximum of eight (8) persons. While you do not need to book an appointment to visit us, you may have to wait to enter the building until current guests or those with appointments have finished. You are always welcome to spend time in our gorgeous blooming back garden!

If you have a tight schedule, please call ahead to book an appointment, and we can make sure we’re ready for you.

Regular Hours

Evergreen House is open year-round.

September to May
Tuesday to Friday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm

June to August
Tuesday to Friday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
Saturday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm


The Dartmouth Heritage Museum is closed on all public holidays.


Mobility: Evergreen House is unfortunately unaccessible for wheelchair users, and may be difficult for those with mobility issues, due to several staircases and changes in elevation. Our backyard will soon have a staircase which will help those with reduced mobility reach the garden.

Interpretation: Evergreen has spoken guided tours, and a written self-guided tour. These are in English. We are working towards a auditory guide for those in the deaf and hard of hearing community. We do not currently have any sign language interpretation.

See our Programming and Activities page for more information on low-sensory hours.

Admission & Gift Shop

Admission is Free for All – Donations Welcome!
We accept cash, debit and credit on-site for our Gift Shop.