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Honourable John Lewis House

2889 Main Street, Hillsborough, New Brunswick, E4H, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2009/12/07

Viewed from the west; Village of Hillsborough
Honourable John Lewis House
View of the house from northwest corner showing the original stone fountation supporting a bold, imposing, frame structure; Village of Hillsborough
Honourable John Lewis House
This photo was taken in 1907, while the property belonged to John L. Peck, who also owned the bank in Hillsborough; Village of Hillsborough from William Henry Steeves House Museum archives
Honourable John Lewis House

Other Name(s)

Honourable John Lewis House
Lockhart House
Maison Lockhart

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1865/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2010/08/03

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

In 1865, The Honourable John Lewis, (1804-1888), built this splendidly maintained example of a twin bay Italianate house. This symmetrical, two-storey residence maintains a dominant position overlooking Main Street in Hillsborough.

Heritage Value

The Honourable John Lewis House is designated a Local Historic Place for the influential role its builder played in the community and for its imposing architecture.

John Lewis was of Welsh extraction. His father, Ichabod, established the town of Lewisville in 1785 after arriving in the Moncton area from New York, as a United Empire Loyalist. John trained to be a teacher in Halifax, but taught for only one year before moving to Hillsborough and opening a store in 1828. John Lewis’s business flourished. In 1850 he built a new store just to the north of this site beside an eleven kilometre long tramway, which transported Albertite from the mines to a shipping wharf on the river. Mr. Lewis took advantage of the fact that the tramway’s wooden rails and trains of horse drawn carts ran both ways. His location allowed him to use the tramway to cheaply supply the mining company and the growing community, which had sprung up around the pits in Albert Mines.

He married Lavinia Taylor, his neighbour and granddaughter of William Taylor. Their first son, William, studied medicine in Glasgow and Edinburgh, Scotland, before returning to Hillsborough to open his practice. In later years William was elected to the Provincial legislature and later to the House of Commons. His daughter Rebecca’s son, John Lewis Peck, would also play important roles in Hillsborough’s unfolding story.

Because of his forceful arguments, determination and assured eloquence, John Lewis had been asked by both parties to run for the provincial legislature. However, it was not until the Confederation issue arose that he became sufficiently motivated to contest an election. He was strongly in favour of the union between Upper and Lower Canada, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick. He fought successfully to hold the seat vacated by another strong supporter of Confederation, William Henry Steeves. During the key votes of 1865 and 1866 he argued convincingly for Confederation against his anti-Confederation opponent, John Wallace, who was his neighbour. After Confederation, Mr. Lewis was appointed to the Legislative Council of New Brunswick and remained in this cabinet for eleven years. In 1875, the Honourable John Lewis and others were granted the charter for the construction of the Salisbury–Albert Railway.

Mr. Lewis was a forceful and dominant business and political leader in his community. This house mirrors its builder’s personality. The front façade is bluff, forthright and imposing. It is an excellent example of Italianate residential architecture. This style is evident in such elements as the twin bays on the front façade, the extensive use of brackets and the ‘widow’s walk’. The building symbolizes authority so readily that two other prominent village families borrowed its ambience and took up residency in this house over the years. In 1881 John Lewis retired from business by selling his store and this house to his twenty-three-year-old grandson, John Lewis Peck. From 1881 until 1919, John Peck made this residence the seat of an expanding financial and business empire. The property was then acquired by Major Ralph Lockhart, a distinguished WWI veteran. Again, the solemn dignity of the house matched an owner whose distinguished war service had earned him the respect of his community.

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 Honourable John Lewis House include:
- two-storey square massing;
- moderately pitched hipped roof;
- widow's walk with geometric railings;
- evenly-spaced brackets under the eaves;
- dentils at the top of the exterior walls;
- inset brick chimney;
- twin semi-octagonal bay windows with hipped roofs and brackets;
- double-hung windows with bracketed entablatures;
- clapboard sheathing;
- stone steps;
- field stone foundation;
- open portico entrance.

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

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce
Governing Canada
Politics and Political Processes
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type

Current

Historic

Residence
Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer

n/a

Builder

John Lewis

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

William Henry Steeves House Museum, 40 Mill Street, Hillsborough, NB, 2H4 2Z8

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

1948

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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