Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Hearth is the freestanding remnant of a nineteenth-century residential stone hearth and chimney at Power’s Hill in the Town of Branch. The municipal heritage designation includes the footprint of the structure, plus three metres in each direction out from it.
The Hearth has been designated a municipal heritage site by the Town of Branch because of its historic, architectural, cultural and aesthetic values.
The Hearth has historic value because of its age and as a remnant from an early home in Branch, and because of its connection to the earliest settlers and Power family line in the community. Thomas Nash and family are generally accepted as having been the first to settle at Branch. Nash was an Irish immigrant who had lived on Newfoundland’s Southern Shore before eventually moving to Branch around 1790. One of Nash’s two daughters is said to have married Nicholas (Nicks) Power, another Irish immigrant, and one of their sons was David Power, in whose house the structure now called The Hearth was incorporated. That house reportedly dated to circa 1830-1850. The house remained in the Power family, with some renovations over the years, and The Hearth was discovered by David Power’s great-grandson when the home was being demolished around 2000, and the stone structure was left to stand.
The Hearth has cultural value because of its connection to the area’s Irish ancestry and cultural roots. The area known as the Cape Shore, along which Branch is located, was very heavily settled by immigrants from southern Ireland. The Hearth is representative of common, Irish domestic architecture. This style and type of construction was commonly used in Newfoundland when Irish immigrants settled the area.
The Hearth has architectural value as a remnant of early residential architecture in Newfoundland. The Hearth was located at the centre of the Power home’s rectangular floor plan, creating a partition between the “front room” and the kitchen-living room, and providing a fireplace with separate flues for each section. The front room had the smaller fireplace and an alcove called a cathole, which was used for storage. The second fireplace was used for cooking.
The construction of The Hearth began with a framework of sticks woven with the shoots of willow or other pliable tree. The stone used was local, as evidenced by the fact that one of them contains a fossil of a sort common to Branch Cove. The mortar used would have been either lime and sand, or a kind of sticky white clay known to the Cape Shore region. The entire structure was plastered with mud, and capped with a wooden box to form a chimney crown.
The Hearth has aesthetic value as a unique structure in Branch whose appearance evokes the nineteenth century period when the ancestral Power home stood on Power’s Hill.
Source: Town of Branch Regular Council Meeting November 24, 2008.
Those elements relating to the historic, architectural, cultural and aesthetic significance of the structure, including:
-design and dimensions;
-materials used, including local wood and stone;
-and original location on Power’s Hill, connecting the structure to the Power family line and former David Power family home.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land
Theme - Category and Type
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
Function - Category and Type
- Undetermined (archaeological site)
- Exposed Site
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador
1 Springdale Street
St. John's, NL
Cross-Reference to Collection