Description of Historic Place
Mary’s Home is a four-story Gothic Revival castle built in 1906-1908 and is located at the corner of Archibald Street and Mountain Road in Moncton. Its elevated position on what was once called Mary’s Hill is largely concealed by trees on the park-like grounds and by its setback location on the property.
Mary’s Home is designated as a Local Historic Place because of its unique Gothic Revival castle architecture and its level of preservation.
Originally designed as a care home for orphans by local architect René-Arthur Frechet and built by contractor Fred LeBlanc, Mary’s Home sits on land donated by Mrs. Jennie McSweeney. Begun in 1906 and completed in 1908, this Gothic Revival structure reveals both secular and religious elements. Conspicuous exterior elements include grey freestone from the Notre Dame Quarry, a large turret on the southeast corner and a towering frontispiece facing east. These vertical elements, along with pointed Gothic arches and window openings, help to break up the rectangular massing of the overall structure.
The top story was added sometime in the 1930s. The crenellated, openwork and stepped parapets that are intact over the frontispiece and west wing are bold elements of a fortified castle, while the mullion tracery on the stained glass Gothic windows and the two stone cruciform carvings are cathedral elements.
Mary’s Home is also designated as a Local Historic Place for its association with the educational development of the city and with St. Bernard’s Church and its parish, the oldest Roman Catholic parish in Moncton. Having already overseen the building of St. Bernard’s Church, the parish’s first pastor, Rev. Henry A. Meahan, conceived of St. Mary’s Home for Orphans and Foundlings on Mary’s Hill. Since Rev. Meahan died in 1905, his successor, Rev. Edward Savage, oversaw the completion of Mary’s Home in 1908. Overcrowding at schools in the city demonstrated the need to convert Mary’s Home from an orphanage and care home for the elderly into a school before it was even completed. The Sisters of Charity took up residence here and became the educators at the school. Mary’s Home School became only the second institution to allow education in French in the city.
Mary’s Home was designated as a Moncton Heritage Property under By-Law #Z-1102 in 1996.
Source: Moncton Museum, Moncton, New Brunswick - second floor files – “207 Mountain Road”.
The character-defining elements relating to the context and location of the structure include:
- its elevated position on Mary’s Hill;
- concealment by trees;
- park-like grounds;
- its setback location on the property;
The character-defining elements relating to the exterior of the structure include:
- large turret on southeast corner and towered frontispiece, facing east, breaking up the rectangular massing;
- open-work, stepped and crenellated parapets;
- stone modillion band over east entrance;
- stringcourse of rough-cut stone;
- Gothic archways with hood moulding at both east and south entrances;
- carved stone details on frontispiece;
- regular and symmetrical fenestration of rectangular windows with blind metallic transoms;
- long Gothic arch window openings creating verticality;
- simple mullion tracery;
- former south-facing main entrance with solid wood door, transom and sidelights;
- Tudor arch window openings;
- plain lug sills;
- continuous label hood moulding;
- corner stone.
The character-defining structural elements include:
- grey freestone;
- rectangular massing.
The character-defining elements relating to the interior of the structure include:
- twelve-foot ceilings;
- extensive original wood paneling, baseboards and ceiling moulding;
- wood trimmed doorways with entablatures;
- elaborate inset cabinets;
- wide staircase with solid carved newels and banisters with turned balusters;
- original light fixtures and chandeliers;
- restored hardwood floors;
- embossed wallpaper;
- cable elevator with retracting brass lattice door;
- kitchen and pantry;
- large black wrought iron coal furnace;
- cast iron radiators;
- large original mirrors with ornate frames
- 3rd story chapel area;
- twenty-eight foot ceiling;
- inset confessionals;
- oak paneling;
- chandelier with original bulbs;
- terra cotta transverse arch moulding;
- clerestory of semicircular fanlight windows;
- balcony pews;
- fluteless classic dark wood pillars with terra cotta figured and voluted ionic capitals;
- entablature between walls and ceiling with foliated vignette frieze in terra cotta.