Captain William Irving House
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Captain William Irving House is an excellent example of a rectangular one-and-a-half storey Cape Cod residence from the mid-19th century. It is located on Main Street in Hillsborough.
The Captain William Irving House is designated a Local Historic Place for its association with its enterprising owners and for its architecture.
In 1848 Captain William Irving, (1816-1905) built this home for his bride, Ruth (Steeves). Captain Irving became a ‘Schooner Man’. These merchants of the deep combined the interpersonal skills of the market place with the hard knowledge of navigation and seamanship. He skippered his own three-masted schooner, 'The Hillsborough', up and down the eastern seaboard. Farm produce, plaster, coal (albertite), and maple sugar were carried south. Sugar, rum, molasses, machinery, manufactured goods, and flour were brought north. His cargos were bought and sold from Hillsborough to the Caribbean and sold and bought again back to Hillsborough. He operated his own store for a time, but, for the most part sold his cargos wholesale to merchants at home and along the way. The panoramic view of the Petitcodiac River from the front rooms of his home must have kept Captain Irving abreast of the changing moods of the sea even when on shore with his wife and their five children.
The Snider family has likewise coupled their professional and personal lives. Mr. Herbert Snider began work in Hillsborough in 1939 as one of the first auto mechanics in the village. In 1949 he opened Snider’s Garage, a business his son still owns and operates adjacent to his home. Like Captain Irving before them, both men have mastered the skills of running a business, while employing the determination, patience and resourcefulness required to make a machine run. When faced with a puzzling repair Herb Snider would say, “Well, I guess we will have to rig a rig”, meaning a tool would have to be devised before the mechanical problem could be solved.
The tall ships of Captain Irving’s day have cast off and drifted into history. The numerous privately owned garages, which once thrived in every community, are traveling toward the same destination. This house has watched the rise and fall of both means of livelihood.
The Captain William Irving House is also recognized as a good example of rural Cape Cod residential architecture from the mid-19th century. This classic Cape Cod house was built in 1848. The basic design was brought to New England during the 1600’s by the Puritans. The Puritan adaptations of the English crofter's cottages were intended to make their versions easier to heat and less resistant to wind. The purest examples were preserved on Cape Cod, MA. Thus the design's enduring name. The numerous variations on the Cape Cod theme have made the design difficult to distinguish. Most of these alterations were intended to correct the most glaring original flaw. Because of the steeply pitched roof the living space on the upper level was very confined. As a result ceilings were low and upper windows were small. In this example one of these draw backs was solved by extending the upper windows down to floor level.
Source: Heritage Hillsborough, William Henry Steeves House Museum, Local Historic Places files
The character-defining of the Captain William Irving House include:
- steeply pitched roof with side gables;
- narrow roof overhang;
- rectangular one-and-a-half storey massing;
- wooden clapboard exterior finish;
- multi-paned, double hung wooden window sashes;
- recessed centrally placed front door with multi-paned sidelights and transom;
- one window evenly spaced on each side of the door;
- window entablatures;
- entablature and pilasters surrounding the front entrance;
- stone foundation;
- 1940’s addition of the sun room extending from the rear of the house;
- Snider's Garage building located on the property.
Local Governments (NB)
Local Historic Places Program
Municipal Register of Local Historic Places
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Communications and Transportation
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
Function - Category and Type
- Single Dwelling
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Service Station
Architect / Designer
Captain William Irving
Location of Supporting Documentation
William Henry Steeves House Museum, 40 Mill Street,
Hillsborough, NB, B4H 2Z8
Cross-Reference to Collection