Things That Go “Bump” in the Night: Lunenburg Architecture

Introducing the Lunenburg “Bump”

You have never seen a bump quite like this, and nobody minds if you stare.

The mundane five-sided Scottish dormer has, by hands of local craftsmen, been forever transformed into architectural legend, and it’s only in Lunenburg. Local builders took this architectural detail one step further by extending the central dormer out and down from the roof, thereby creating an overhang or ‘bump’ above the main entrance. Once you’re on the lookout for it, you’ll start to notice the “bump” everywhere!

A building in Lunenburg showing the Lunenburg "bump" architecture style.
An example of Lunenburg’s historic architecture featuring the Lunenburg “Bump”

Settler Influences

European settlers brought with them a love of the land, a desire to work hard and a taste of home. German and Swiss newcomers built in the coulisse style, leaving examples found nowhere else in North America. 

British and Loyalist settlers brought the Cape Cod design to Town, their single-story homes tight against the weather with ever a watchful eye on the harbour. New settlers and changing times brought Victorian Gothic, Italianate and Second Empire. 

Newfoundland settlers brought their own version of the salt box roof; a gable roof with asymmetrical planes, one long and one short side. This makes Lunenburg one of the few places in North America where Newfoundland and New England examples proudly stand just a moment’s drive apart.

Lasting Historic Significance

Today, no less than eight of Lunenburg’s Old Town buildings date back to the 18th century. Traditional and new construction live in harmony, blended by attention to detail and devotion to preservation of a proud and unique waterfront, and it’s not just for looks!