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Isaac Smith House Registered Heritage Structure

Battle Harbour, Newfoundland and Labrador, A0K, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2008/11/07

View of main facade. Photo taken 2008.; HFNL 2008
Isaac Smith House, Battle Hr., Labrador
View of rear facade, showing the back kitchen. Photo taken 2008.; HFNL 2008
Isaac Smith House, Battle Hr., Labrador
View of side facade. Photo taken 2008.; HFNL 2008
Isaac Smith House, Battle Hr., Labrador

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/01/16

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Isaac Smith House is an early, nineteenth-century residence with a steep pitch gable roof and a rear linhay. Located in Battle Harbour, Labrador, this building was built on a grassy hill near the road and is between the Grenfell Cottage and the Ranger Station. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Isaac Smith House has been designated a Registered Heritage Structure for its aesthetic and historic values.

The Isaac Smith House is a good surviving example of a traditional, biscuit-box residence, commonly found in outport Newfoundland. A steep pitch gable roof, sheathed in wooden shingles and punctuated by a single centre chimney, is met at the rear by a shed-roofed linhay built some time after original construction. This house was built with balloon frame construction and the major wooden members are secured by mortise and tenon joinery. While the style is not a “saltbox” it resembles that style. The narrow wooden clapboard, wooden 6/6 windows and wooden plank door are typical features for this type of building. The lack of ornamentation or detail suggests the owner was not of the merchant class.

The Isaac Smith House is also aesthetically valuable for its contribution to the cultural landscape of Battle Harbour. The house is representative of the community and its origins as a fishing port. It resides in the collective memories of the community as a physical symbol of Battle Harbour’s beginnings.

The Isaac Smith House has historic value due to its age. Built sometime between 1830 and 1850, this house is the oldest standing residence in Battle Harbour. Local tradition says the house was built by George Smith, Isaac’s father. Isaac Smith, for whom the house is named, was born in the house, and it is he who is most associated with the building.

The Isaac Smith House is historically valuable because of its associations with the development of the community of Battle Harbour. The mercantile saltfish premises at Battle Harbour were established by the firm of John Slade and Company of Poole, England in the early 1770s. As the community developed, offering shelter, trading posts and commercial opportunities, the local population increased and Battle Harbour eventually became known as the regional capital. The Isaac Smith House represents the pioneers who first set down roots by building permanent residences.

Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, Minutes #62

Character-Defining Elements

All those elements of 19th-century vernacular, outport architecture, including:
-balloon-frame construction;
-mortise and tenon joinery;
-steep pitch gable roof with wooden shingles;
-central, single chimney extending above the roof ridge;
-narrow, wooden clapboard;
-6/6 wooden windows and their original openings;
-wooden, four panel doors and their original openings;
-wide, flat mouldings around windows and doors;
-wide corner boards;
-rear linhay with a shed roof and small 2/2 wooden windows;
-the wooden, four panel door in the linhay; and
-absence of ornamentation or decoration on the exterior.



Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Authority

Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Statute

Historic Resources Act

Recognition Type

Registered Heritage Structure

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Hotel, Motel or Inn


Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer



George Smith

Additional Information

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

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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