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Adams Home

Cape Onion, Newfoundland and Labrador, A0K, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1989/10/21

Exterior photo, front facade, Adams Home, Cape Onion.; Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador 2004
Adams Home, Cape Onion
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1890/01/01 to 1899/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2004/11/08

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Built in 1890, Adams House is located in Cape Onion on the Great Northern Peninsula. Adams House is an example of a typical turn of the century merchant/fisherman’s house in rural Newfoundland. This designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

Adams House is designated as a Registered Heritage Structure for its historical, architectural, and environmental value:

Historical Value:

Adams House is historically important because it is likely the oldest structure in the Cape Onion region. Built in 1890 by William Adams, the house is historically valuable for its longstanding association with the Adams family. The Adams family was one of the most well known families on the Great Northern Peninsula. In particular, both Henry and Ross Adams were noteworthy as master boat builders, merchants and fishermen. Moreover, the two operated a general store in Cape Onion for a number of years and Ross was responsible for bringing the first telephone line to Cape Onion and served as the region’s first social worker. The Adams House was known in the community as a place for visitors to stay and one of the more famous visitors to the house was Sir Wilfred Grenfell.

Architectural Value

Adams House in Cape Onion is architecturally valuable because it serves as an excellent example of a typical merchant/ fisherman’s house in rural Newfoundland. The use of local materials in building the house was also typical in rural Newfoundland.

The house has a number of unique architectural features that contribute to its value including a loft above the kitchen that was used by Henry Adams as a net loft. Furthermore, the symmetry of the front facade is indicative of the fact that two families once lived in this house. There were two parlours in the house and each had a bay window, there were also two kitchens so that each family could have their own space.

Environmental Value:

The location of Adams House near the water is important in considering the context of the structure. The proximity to the water made the wharves and stages easily accessible to the family.

Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador unnumbered property file, 1 Springdale Street, St. John's, NL, A1C 5V5

Character-Defining Elements

-Location of structure;
-wood shingles;
-narrow clapboard;
-window shape, style and placement;
-diamond shaped window in attic;
-steep gable roofline;
-local materials;
-interior layout;
-3 bay front facade.



Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Authority

Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Statute

Historic Resources Act

Recognition Type

Registered Heritage Structure

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type



Single Dwelling

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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