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Rorke's Stone House Registered Heritage Structure

Carbonear, Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1985/12/02

View of the front facade of Rorke's Stone House, Carbonear, NL.; © HFNL/ Lara Maynard 2006
Rorke's Stone House, Carbonear, NL
View of the front facade of Rorke's Stone House, Carbonear, NL; © HFNL/ Deborah O'Rielly 2005
Rorke's Stone House, Carbonear, NL
Drawing of Rorke's Stone House as featured in the book Ten Historic Towns: Historic Architecture in Newfoundland, 1978.; © Newfoundland Historic Trust 2007
Rorke's Stone House, Carbonear, NL

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/01/18

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Rorke’s Stone House is a Georgian style, rubble stone, two-and-a-half storey building located on Water Street in Carbonear, NL. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

Rorke’s Stone House has aesthetic value because it is an excellent example of a 19th century mercantile premises. It is particularly notable because it is constructed entirely of stone. Rorke's Stone House is a large Georgian style building. It stands two-and-a-half storeys and is made entirely of stone cut on Kelly’s Island in Conception Bay. The building also has a steeply pitched roof with peaked dormers and a storefront ground floor with large showcase windows. This floor was used for mercantile operations, while the upper floors were used as the Rorke family living quarters.

Rorke’s Stone House has further aesthetic value due to its environmental setting. One of the few old stone buildings still standing in Newfoundland, and the only one in Carbonear, it is a landmark building in the community. It is located in a heritage district within Carbonear, and is directly across the street from the Rorke Premises, another registered heritage structure.

Rorke’s Stone House has historic value because of its association with John Rorke. John Rorke owned one of the most successful business firms in Newfoundland in the 19th century. He was heavily involved in the Labrador “stationer” fishery and dealt in the fishery, sealing, ship building, international commercial trade and mercantile businesses. John Rorke was influential in getting the railway constructed between St. John’s and Hall’s Bay. Rorke was also politically influential, serving in the House of Assembly for 20 years in the Carbonear region. In 1879 Rorke became a member of the Executive Council and had the term “Honourable” conferred on him by Queen Victoria upon his retirement. Rorke’s Stone House remained a part of the family business for over 140 years.

Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador property file “Carbonear - Rorke's Stone House – FPT 1507”

Character-Defining Elements

All those architectural features that speak to the age and construction of the building in the Georgian style, including:
-rubble stone construction;
-two-and-a-half storey building;
-steeply pitched roof;
-second floor divided into 8 bays;
-6/6 windows;
-peaked dormers with 6/6 windows;
-storefront facade;
-large showcase windows on ground floor;
-gable end chimneys; and
-building height, dimensions, and massing.

All those features which speak to the building's landmark character in the community, including:
-location on the main street close to the waterfront; and
-proximity to Rorke Premises across the street.



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

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Eating or Drinking Establishment


Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment

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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