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Gower Street United Church

St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, A1C, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1995/09/30

View of main facade and left side of Gower Street United Church, St. John's, NL.; Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, 2005
Gower Street United Church, Queen's Road, St. John
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Construction Date(s)

1894/01/01 to 1896/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/02/07

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Gower Street United Church was built in the wake of the Great Fire of 1892. Built of brick, this church was designed by British archictect Elijah Hoole in the Gothic Revival style. This designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

Gower Street United Church is designated as a Registered Heritage Structure for its architectural, historic, and environmental values.

Gower Street United Church is architecturally valuable as an excellent example of the Romanesque Revival style of architecture. Many Romanesque Revival features have been employed in this church such as rounded arches in the windows and doors, arched corbels under the eaves, and the rounded towers with conical roofs. This style is unusual in the ecclesiastical architecture of St. John’s and is in great contrast to that of the nearby Anglican Cathedral and Roman Catholic Basilica.

The interior of Gower Street United Church is also architecturally valuable as it has remained largely unaltered since its construction in 1896. The interior features a hammerbeam roof as well as original woodwork in the pews and many of the railings. Furthermore, the iron grillwork in the loft railings dates to the construction of the church. While the stained glass windows of the church are not original, there are a number of colored glass windows inside the church that are original. These windows are mainly transom windows and sidelights.

Gower Street United Church is also associated with well-known British architect, Elijah Hoole. Hoole was the son of a Methodist missionary to South India and he specialized in building Methodist churches and urban workers dwellings in England. He also designed George Street United Church in St. John’s.

The congregation of Gower Street United Church is the oldest Methodist congregation in St. John’s, dating to 1815. This church is the fourth building to house this congregation and has lasted the longest of the four. This church was rebuilt after the Great Fire of 1892 which destroyed much of the built environment of downtown St. John’s. The period after the Great Fire was one of great rebuilding and Gower Street United Church is an example of this rebuilding.

The location of Gower Street United Church is environmentally valuable. Located in the downtown area, Gower Street United Church is one of a number of buildings of varying faiths in this area. Together, these buildings create an ecclesiastical cluster in downtown St. John’s.

Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador unnumbered property file: St. John’s- Gower Street United Church.

Character-Defining Elements

All those elements that are representative of the Romanesque Revival design including:
-rounded arches;
-round towers with conical roofs;
-arched corbels;
-hammerbeam roof;
-interior woodwork including pews and railings;
-colored glass windows in interior transoms and sidelights;
-iron grillwork in loft railings;
-red brick façade;
-terra cotta ornamental panels on exterior;
-decorative exterior brickwork;
-iron columns supporting gallery; and,
-location of church.



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

Building Social and Community Life
Religious Institutions

Function - Category and Type



Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Religious Facility or Place of Worship

Architect / Designer

Elijah Hoole



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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