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Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Julius Swirsky Clothing Store is a mid-twentieth-century shop and residence located at 7 Broadway, in Corner Brook, Newfoundland and Labrador. The structure is located in very close proximity to neighbouring commercial properties and has a boomtown front façade, with a residence on the second floor. The designation is confined to the footprint of the structure.
The Julius Swirsky Clothing Store has been designated a Registered Heritage Structure for its aesthetic and historic values.
Aesthetic values are achieved in the boomtown architecture of the structure which reflect the era of development of the Broadway area of Corner Brook in the early 1940s, following the development of the Pulp and Paper Mill. Boomtown architecture is typified by a flat roof with a false front that conceals a more modest structure. The uppermost edge of the façade often exceeds the height of the building itself, giving it a more imposing appearance. The Julius Swirsky Clothing Store has a rectangular, stepped eave, surrounded by a wide moulding and encompassed by a cornice and wide, flat moulding. The ground level store is visually separated by another roofline which extends over the wide sign band and store-front windows. The store front is accentuated by a recessed doorway and large windows above a bulkhead.
The Julius Swirsky Clothing Store is valued for its associations with the development of the area. The City of Corner Brook saw its first sawmill in 1867 with the arrival of Mr. Gay Silver of Nova Scotia. The community grew yearly with men and their families who prosecuted the fishery in the summer and worked in the Corner Brook lumber woods in the winter. During the 1920s, Prime Minister Sir Richard Squires initiated construction of a pulp and paper mill, powerhouse transmission line, and town that was completed in 1925 by the Newfoundland Pulp & Paper Company. In 1938 the mill was purchased by the Bowater Company who continued operations and maintained a significant presence in the City until 1984, when it was taken over by Kruger Inc. - a Montreal-based multi-national company under the name of Corner Brook Pulp and Paper Co. Ltd. The war years of 1939-1945 saw a boom in the fishing industry enabling the area to prosper greatly. Following the Second World War, a cement plant, gypsum/ wallboard plant, and other related industries were introduced. The commercial district of Broadway was populated to provide mill workers with clothing and retail items. The Julius Swirsky Clothing Store tells the story of the Jewish community that occupied the Broadway area at the time of the pulp and paper boom.
The Julius Swirsky Clothing Store is valued for its rarity within the community. In 1950 a fire swept through Broadway and many original buildings were lost and later rebuilt. The store at 7 Broadway, as well as numbers 5 and 11, were unaffected by the fire. Swirskys is one of the last remaining of those pre-fire stores in its original condition.
The Julius Swirsky Clothing Store is also valued for its location in Corner Brook. The development of the Pulp and Paper industry was key to establishing a workforce. During this period of social segregation and English class separation Corner Brook was developed with two separate and distinct business districts; the “Townsite” area was for mill employees and executives, and the second area “Broadway” was where Jewish and Lebanese migrants provided services to Corner Brook residents, mill workers and their families, setting up shops and living above them. The Swirsky store on Broadway helps to tell this story.
Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, minutes #62
All those elements of the Boomtown style of architecture, including:
- original boomtown façade with a stepped eave;
- wide mouldings and use of traditional, narrow wooden clapboard;
- extended roofline between the main and second storeys, delineating the retail store from the residence;
- large sign band above storefront windows;
- large storefront windows and their openings;
- recessed entryway;
- door opening and transom;
- original bulkhead, its size, dimensions and massing;
- wide, wooden corner mouldings;
- size, dimensions and central location of original second floor residence window which may be visible from the interior; and
- location, size, massing and orientation of the structure on Corner Brook’s historic Broadway.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador
Historic Resources Act
Registered Heritage Structure
Theme - Category and Type
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
Function - Category and Type
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Eating or Drinking Establishment
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Shop or Wholesale Establishment
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, 1 Springdale Street, P.O. Box 5171, St. John's, NL, A1C 5V5
Cross-Reference to Collection