Description of Historic Place
The St. Laurent house, part of the Louis S. St. Laurent National Historic Site of Canada, is set back from its adjacent store-warehouse, in the Eastern Township village of Compton. The low sloping, gable-roofed house consists of a one-and-a-half storey, well-proportioned, white, clapboard structure with a front verandah whose ornate posts support the overhang of the roof. The three-bay front façade has a central entrance over which is a gabled dormer that opens onto a small balcony on the roof. Multi-pane windows with shutters are symmetrically arranged on the building’s façades. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The St. Laurent House is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental value.
The St. Laurent House, once occupied by Louis S. St. Laurent and his family, is closely associated with the colonization of the Eastern Townships by the Americans and the British during the second half of the 19th century. The property was acquired by the federal government in the 1970s to commemorate the contribution of the former Prime Minister, Louis S. St. Laurent (1948-1957), to Canada’s political, economic and social history, in the town of his birth. This single family home, together with the store-warehouse located at the front of the site, form the heart of Louis S. St. Laurent National Historic Site of Canada.
The St. Laurent House is valued for its very good aesthetic and functional design. It is a fine example of Neoclassical vernacular architecture inspired by American models. The first sample of this type of architecture was introduced to Quebec by the Loyalists. The St. Laurent House possesses all of the main features associated with such models. The interior plan, with a central hall dividing two symmetrical portions, and the construction materials, in particular the wood clapboard painted white, are also characteristic of the style.
St. Laurent House, as part of the Louis S. St. Laurent National Historic Site of Canada, is compatible with the present character of its Eastern Township streetscape setting in the village of Compton and is a regional landmark.
Sources: Michel Bédard, Résidence et magasin-entrepot St. Laurent, Compton, Québec, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report, 92-025; St. Laurent House, Compton, Québec, Heritage Character Statement, 92-025.
The following character-defining elements of St. Laurent House should be respected.
Its very good aesthetic and functional design, and very good craftsmanship and materials, for example:
- the stylistic features that make this one-and-a-half storey house a very good example of 19th-century Neoclassical vernacular architecture that include the balanced proportions, the low-sloped gable roof, the dormer window opening onto a small balcony, the main entrance door below, the symmetrical alignment of the openings and the long gallery across the façade;
- the components that illustrate the construction methods and techniques specific to this Neoclassical vernacular tradition, in particular the wood clapboard siding painted white, the multi-pane windows and the decorative brackets on the gallery posts;
- the interior plan typical of Neoclassical houses, where each floor is divided into rooms of equal size and arranged around a central hall;
- the addition, which was common for this type of house;
- the interior finished with durable but noble materials, which evokes the period of time the house was occupied by Louis S. St-Laurent and his family.
The manner in which St. Laurent House is compatible with the present character of its Eastern Township streetscape setting in the village of Compton and is well-known within the area, as evidenced by:
- its overall scale, design and materials, which harmonize with its associated store-warehouse building, the surrounding buildings on its village streetscape and its surrounding public space;
- its familiarity within the area, as part of the Louis S. St. Laurent National Historic Site of Canada, prominently located in the town’s core, which makes it a regional landmark.