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Victoriana Steeves Homestead Bed and Breakfast

57 Pleasant Street, Hillsborough, New Brunswick, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2010/01/04

The southeast corner of the house viewed from Pleasant Street ; Village of Hillsborough
57 Pleasant Street, current image
This photo was taken ten years after Reverend Hughes sold his house to Captain James Blight; Village of Hillsborough, William Henry Steeves House Museum archives
57 Pleasant Street, circa 1880
This photo was taken midway through the Blight family residency; Village of Hillsborough, William Henry Steeves House Museum archives
57 Pleasant Street, 1931

Other Name(s)

Victoriana Steeves Homestead Bed and Breakfast
Blight House
Maison Blight

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1860/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2010/04/09

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Victoriana Steeves Homestead Bed and Breakfast is a sprawling one-and-a-half and two-storey Carpenter Gothic residence from the mid-19th century. Reverend John Hughes built this house in 1860 while he was minister of the Hillsborough Baptist Church. It is located on Pleasant Street in Hillsborough.

Heritage Value

The heritage value of the Victoriana Steeves Homestead Bed and Breakfast rests with the impact its second owners exerted on the mining industry throughout Atlantic Canada and for its architecture.

Captain James Blight Sr., (his title, ‘Captain’, is a Cornish term for, ‘contractor’), was a tin mine developer who emigrated from Cornwall, England to Boston, circa 1848. His American employer, Fowler and Co., transferred him to Hillsborough in 1845 to manage their gypsum quarries. In 1870, Rev. Hughes accepted another ministry and the Blight family acquired his house and made it their home for the following century.

Captain Blight became keenly interested in Albert County’s albertite deposits. However, the deposit at Albert Mines was very confined and already under heavy development. For ten years he prospected for a new rich vein, even employing a revolutionary tool, the diamond drill, but was unable to locate the mineral in sufficient amounts to warrant a mine. His coal mining interests bore more fruit. He located and developed the Dominion Coal Mines in Pictou, and the Fenwick mine in Cumberland Co., Nova Scotia. James Blight Sr. died in 1890. His son, James Blight Jr., born in Hillsborough in 1856, followed in his father’s footsteps. Working with J. B. King Co., New York, he developed the gypsum quarries in Windsor, N.S. In 1890, he began developing a body of white plaster, or Plaster of Paris at Demoiselle Creek near Hillsborough. It was pure, hard and brilliant white enough to be used straight from the quarry to mould statues, figurines and pottery. In 1920 the third generation of the Blight family moved to the fore. James S. Blight studied engineering at Mount Allison and McGill and became manager of the Albert Manufacturing Co. which, by that time, had taken over his father’s gypsum operation. George and Barry Blight were superintendents at the plaster mill. The family sold the house in 1969.

The Victoriana Steeves Homestead Bed and Breakfast is also recognized for being an excellent example of Carpenter Gothic residential architecture. When Rev. John Hughes built this house in 1860, he employed a style that was not only reflective of rural churches of the time, but was also widely used for presbyteries and other religious residences. The Carpenter Gothic style is expressed in such traditional elements as the steeply-pitched gable roof, the elaborate gingerbread trim and the steep cross-gables. The later one-and-a-half storey additions reflect the style and design of the original residence. Since acquiring the property in 1971 the present owners have worked to restore the spirit of Rev. Hughes’ original flights of architectural fancy. The devotion they have applied to their task shines like a new coat of paint, but penetrates much deeper. Each of the 12 rooms reflects keen attention to historic detail and the grounds are groomed to perfection.

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

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements relating to the exterior of the Victoriana Steeves Homestead Bed and Breakfast include:
- irregular one-and-a-half and two-storey massing;
- steeply-pitched gable roof;
- decorative bargeboard trim on gable ends;
- wooden finals and pendants;
- gable-roofed dormers with double hung windows;
- gable-roofed dormer with three double-hung windows, the centre window having a fanlight;
- two inset red brick chimneys;
- multi-paned bay windows with entablatures;
- double-hung windows;
- oval screen door at one entrance;
- columned veranda with decorative bracketing at capitals;
- cement steps.

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

2010/01/04

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

n/a

Theme - Category and Type

Peopling the Land
Migration and Immigration
Developing Economies
Extraction and Production
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type

Current

Commerce / Commercial Services
Hotel, Motel or Inn

Historic

Residence
Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer

n/a

Builder

Rev. John Hughes

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

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

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

1972

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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