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The Road House Municipal Heritage Site

Conception Bay South, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2008/09/16

View of the left and front facades of The Road House, Topsail, CBS, NL. Photo taken 2009. ; HFNL/Andrea O'Brien 2010
The Road House, Topsail, CBS, NL
View of the rear and left facades of The Road House, Topsail, CBS, NL. Photo taken 2009. ; HFNL/Andrea O'Brien 2010
The Road House, Topsail, CBS, NL
East wall being stripped of clapboard and sheathing in 1999. East, north and south walls have been reframed, resheathed and insulated. These three sides also have new windows, doors, clapboard and replicated eaves brackets.  Photo taken 1999.; Steve O'Driscoll 2010
The Road House, Topsail, CBS, NL

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2010/03/23

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Road House is a two-storey, wooden house with a low pitched roof. It is located at 2453 Topsail Road in Topsail, Conception Bay South, NL. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Road House has been designated a municipal heritage site by the Town of Conception Bay South due to its historic and aesthetic values.

The Road House has historic value due to its age and its association with a way of life once common in the region. The house may have been built as early as 1871, as some newspapers taken from the interior walls bear this date. Local oral tradition suggests that the house was once used as a guesthouse that catered to people travelling along the east shore of Conception Bay. Topsail was connected to St. John’s by road in the mid 1800s and by train in the 1880s, and soon became a popular retreat for the St. John’s elite. Some built country homes in Topsail and neighbouring communities, while others rented rooms from locals. Establishments catering to the city visitors, including tearooms and guesthouses, were very common. Along with its natural attractions such as Topsail Beach, the community was the halfway point between St. John’s and Holyrood, another popular vacation spot. As such, many travelers would choose Topsail as a rest point along their journey. The Road House property reportedly had a carriage house and stables for guests to avail of, as well.

The Road House has aesthetic value as a good example of a late 19th century home. During interior renovations, evidence of a third floor was found and it is quite possible that this upper storey was removed in response to changing house styles during the early 20th century. The front façade is symmetrical and features an enclosed one-storey porch with a mansard roof. Column-like cornerboards, wide window and door trim and eaves brackets along the upper eave, on the front porch and above the main floor windows on the front façade, combine to give the exterior a refined elegance. Adding to the aesthetic value of The Road House is its setting on Topsail Road. Located on a mature plot, The Road House is a distinctive property on the main thoroughfare through the town and offers a spectacular view of Conception Bay.

Source: Town of Conception Bay South Regular Council Meeting Motion #08-353 September 16, 2008.

Character-Defining Elements

All those elements which represent the aesthetic value of The Road House, including:
-low pitched roof;
- number of storeys;
-cornice mouldings along eaves;
-eaves brackets;
- narrow wooden clapboard;
- corner boards resembling columns;
- window size, style, trim and placement;
- size, style, trim and placement of exterior doors;
- size, style and placement of enclosed front porch with mansard roof, and;
- dimension, location and orientation of building.



Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Authority

NL Municipality

Recognition Statute

Municipalities Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type


Single Dwelling


Commerce / Commercial Services
Hotel, Motel or Inn

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador
1 Springdale Street
St. John's, NL A1C 5V5

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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