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Old Hillsborough Post Office

2852 Main Street, Hillsborough, New Brunswick, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2009/12/07

This image shows the well-maintained red brick with local sandstone trim on the front façade.; Village of Hillsborough
Old Hillsborough Post Office
This image shows the original 1913 mail boxes which are similar to the brass and glass mail boxes on display in the Canadian Museum of Civilization in Gatineau.; Village of Hillsborough
Old Hillsborough Post Office
This image, taken from the southeast, shows the original iron fire escape against the red brick. Arched cut-stone window headers highlight the exterior.; Village of Hillsborough
Old Hillsborough Post Office

Other Name(s)

n/a

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1912/01/01 to 1913/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2010/03/30

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Old Hillsborough Post Office is a two-storey brick and sandstone Beaux Arts style institutional building that stands proudly aloof on Main Street in Hillsborough. Just inside the double front doors, the guarded expression of the original wall of mail boxes still scrutinizes the public area. For ninety-seven years the joys and sorrows of the villagers waited behind each brass and glass door to be revealed by the box owner’s key.

Heritage Value

The old Hillsborough Post Office has local historic significance as the symbol of a turning point in the development of the village.

During the first ten years of the 20th century, the population of Hillsborough doubled. Agriculture continued to expand and there was renewed interest in developing a new seam of Albertite, which was attracting capital and workmen. The gypsum quarries and plaster mill were increasing their output. The Hillsborough and Salem Railway had offices and repair shops in the village. The waterfront was still flourishing with exports of minerals and lumber. Thirteen retail stores were in town, two woodworking factories, three doctors, a bank and five churches. In 1912, the Government of Canada recognized Hillsborough’s booming economy by building a new combined excise, duty and post office in the village. The result was a stunning contrast of red brick highlighted by local sandstone door and window surrounds, stringcourses, keystones, entablature and foundations. While this classically-inspired building is a modest example of the Beaux Arts style, its presence lent Hillsborough the aura of a regional centre. The unflinching angles and plans of the building’s masonry exterior are unmistakably a class apart from the softer contours of the frame buildings cascading toward it down Main Street. Completed in 1913, the Old Post Office is more recent in design, material and construction techniques than its neighbours, setting it apart along the streetscape.

The optimism of 1912 may have been overblown somewhat, but it was not until 2005 that the post office decided its needs would be better served by a single-storey building on the marsh at the edge of town. To their credit, the Village Council of the day acquired the abandoned post office and renovated all three levels. The practical result of this was that the old building attracted a new tenant, which has become the largest employer in the area.

Source: Heritage Hillsborough, William Henry Steeves House Museum, Local Historic places files

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements relating to the exterior elements of the Old Hillsborough Post Office include:
- square two-storey massing;
- red-brick sheathing with sandstone detailing, including stringcourses and voussoirs in the window arches;
- cut sandstone blocks on flagstone buttress;
- hipped roof with wide eaves;
- main entrance with engaged carved sandstone pilasters with capitals;
- curved sandstone pediment;
- projecting frontispiece with large pediment;
- block modillions under the eaves;
- copper finials;
- triple and double double-hung windows on the second storey;
- double-hung windows with sandstone segmented arch surrounds;
- bay windows with arched transom light;
- stone foundation;
- segmented arch basement windows covered with iron bars;
- granite steps with cement and sandstone wall;
- engraving on steps;
- drop-down iron fire escape.

The character-defining elements relating to the interior include:
- original wall of mailboxes.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

New Brunswick

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (NB)

Recognition Statute

Local Historic Places Program

Recognition Type

Municipal Register of Local Historic Places

Recognition Date

2009/12/07

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

n/a

Theme - Category and Type

Governing Canada
Government and Institutions
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type

Current

Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building

Historic

Government
Customs Building
Government
Post Office

Architect / Designer

David Ewart

Builder

Beecher Steeves

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Hillsborough, William Henry Steeves House Museum, 40 Mill Street, E4H 2Z8

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

1867

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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