Description of Historic Place
The St. Laurent Store and Warehouse, part of the Louis S. St. Laurent National Historic Site of Canada, is a one-and-a-half-storey, gable roof building that sits prominently on the streetscape in the Eastern Township village of Compton. The white, clapboard building is composed of a main block, with its gable wall facing the street, and a perpendicular warehouse wing. The gable wall is a three-bay front façade with a covered porch and a central entrance flanked by large windows. Multi-pane windows and door openings are symmetrically arranged on all the building’s façades. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The St. Laurent Store and Warehouse is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The St. Laurent Store and Warehouse is a very good example of a commercial establishment 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 former Prime Minister (1948-1957) Louis St. Laurent’s contribution to Canada’s political, economic and social history, in the town of his birth. The St. Laurent Store and Warehouse, together with the single-family home at the back of the site, form the heart of the Louis S. St. Laurent National Historic Site of Canada.
The St. Laurent Store and Warehouse is valued for its good aesthetic and functional design. It is an example of vernacular architecture of neoclassical derivation, inspired by the American models introduced to Québec by the Loyalists. The building is easily recognizable as a traditional general store. The excellent condition of the interior, where all details and craftsmanship are of wood, attests to a careful choice of materials and to high quality construction.
The St. Laurent Store and Warehouse, as part of 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 Store-Warehouse, Compton, Québec, Heritage Character Statement, 92-025.
The following character-defining elements of the St. Laurent Store and Warehouse should be respected.
Its good aesthetic and functional design, and very good craftsmanship and materials, as for example:
- the stylistic features that make this one-and-a-half storey wooden commercial building a noteworthy example of 19th-century neoclassical vernacular architecture, including the balanced proportions, the articulated massing, the gable roofs without dormers, the large bay windows on the ground floor and the inviting covered gallery;
- the building materials and techniques, which illustrate construction practices and techniques specific to this vernacular tradition, in particular the wood clapboard siding painted white, the multi-pane windows and the various interior features crafted from fine wood;
- the built-in furnishings and all the other elements that evoke the former commercial use of the building and commemorate the period of occupation of the Prime Minister and his family.
The manner in which St. Laurent Store and Warehouse 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 St. Laurent
House, the surrounding buildings on its village streetscape and its surrounding public space;
- its familiarity within the area, as part of Louis S. St. Laurent National Historic Site of Canada and its prominent location on the streetscape in the town’s core, which makes it a regional landmark.