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187-189 Water Street

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

Formally Recognized: 1989/07/21

Exterior view of main and east facing facades, 187-189 Water Street, St. John's, NL. ; HFNL 2005
187-189 Water Street, St. John's, NL
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1892/01/01 to 1893/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/03/24

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

187-189 Water Street is a three and a half storey brick Commerical Venacular style building located at the corner Water Street and Baird's Cove, St. John's, NL. This structure is part of the municipally designated block of buildings 187-205 Water Street and it is also located in the Water Street Federal Historic District. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

187-189 Water Street has been designated a Municipal Heritage Building for its aesthetic and historical values.

The Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union is aesthetically valuable as an example of a turn of the 20th century mercantile/residential building in downtown St. John’s. The first storey of this building was traditionally used for mercantile premises or office space. Unlike the other buildings in this block, the additional storeys of this building were used as a prominent social club and only recently as office space. This prominence is reflected in the use of decorative brick on the second and third storeys of this structure. The use of the building as a commercial building is evident through the traditional store front that features large glass windows and a recessed doorway. Futhermore, the brick construction of this building is typical for downtown St. John’s buildings built after the fire of 1892. This building, like all the others in this block, also feature some elements of classical revival such as pediments, pilasters, and arched windows and doorway.

187-189 Water Street is historically valuable because of its association as a private club. The second and third floors of this building were the home of the City Club, a social club for the well-to-do merchants and financial men of the city, instituted in 1893. To gain membership to this club one had to past the blackball test. If a member placed one blackball (a bean) in a pot during the selection process it was enough cause for rejection to the club.

Source: City of St. John's Archives, unnumbered property file, St. John's - Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union building

Character-Defining Elements

All elements that define the building's Commerical Venacular design including:
-large glass windows;
-recessed doorway;
-size, shape, decoration and placement of windows;
-two, one storey bow windows with eared trim located on the second storey front facade;
-the use of decorative brick on the second and third storeys;
-use of pilasters on the third storey;
-oval window with decorative brick on the second storey;
-arched and recessed second entrance; and,
-size. location and dimensions.



Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Authority

City of St. John's

Recognition Statute

City of St. John's Act

Recognition Type

City of St. John's Heritage Building, Structure, Land or Area

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type



Social, Benevolent or Fraternal Club

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of St. John's Archives, 3rd Floor Railway Coastal Museum, 495 Water Street, P.O. Box 908, St. John's, NL A1C 5M2

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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