Description of Historic Place
Victoria Manor consists of a two and one-half storey wood frame residence built in 1893, situated on a parcel of land on Maple Street in the Village of Riverside-Albert.
Victoria Manor Provincial Historic Site was the home of the Hon. Abner Reid McClelan (1830-1917), a highly regarded business and political figure in the Province who was also a significant benefactor to the community. He was involved in shipping, agriculture and mercantile business. McClelan was a member of the Canadian Senate at the time of the house’s construction, and would later become Lieutenant-Governor of New Brunswick from 1896 until 1902. McClelan built this sizable Queen Anne Revival style house in 1893 and spent his later years here.
The house is also significant because it was designed by the distinguished architect Watson E. Reid (1857-1943), who was residing locally at the time. In 1905, he also designed the community’s Riverside Consolidated School. Reid and his two older brothers (all three born and raised in Harvey, NB) would go on to design the Hotel del Coronado in California, one of the most famous and luxurious beach hotels in the world. Reid returned to New Brunswick in 1890, remaining until 1908, whereupon he moved permanently to Vancouver to practice architecture.
The cut stone broken course foundation is constructed of red sandstone from the local Memel Quarry, active from 1880 to 1894.
Victoria Manor is an example of the eclecticism and elegance of the late 19th century Queen Anne Revival style, while prominently illustrating the taste and affluence of a prominent local citizen such as McClelan. The finest materials and craftsmanship evident throughout the house along with its illustrious creators and remarkable state of preservation make Victoria Manor a significant heritage landmark.
Source: New Brunswick Culture and Sport Secretariat, Heritage Branch, Site File # 70.
Character-defining elements of Victoria Manor include:
- setting of the house including grass yard surrounding the house, the formal frontal orientation of the house to Maple Street, and the original red sandstone walkways linking the house and driveway;
- picturesque qualities of the Queen Anne Revival style in a residential application, evident in the house’s use of asymmetrical massing, projecting window bays of various shapes and heights, horizontal wood clapboard siding on the main floor and multiple wood shingle types and patterns on the second and attic floors, front and side colonnaded verandahs, wide sheltering roof overhangs, and the two-storey curved front tower with its conical roof;
- cut stone broken course foundation made of red sandstone;
- unaltered and well-maintained interior spaces including the formal front reception hall, sitting room, library, drawing room, conservatory, dining room, upstairs hall, bedrooms, servants’ quarters and attic spaces, all of which exhibit dark and medium stained hardwood paneling, mouldings and doors;
- curved plate glass windows in the front tower in various pane sizes and mullion patterns;
- hand-painted stained glass image of Queen Victoria in her Diamond Jubilee-era regalia, surrounded by a wreath of light reddish-brown maple leaves located in the main floor front bay window, circa 1897;
- fireplaces in seven of the principal rooms throughout the house, each of these coal-burning fireplaces is of a different design and their corresponding ornate carved wooden mantels reflect the freedom of configuration offered by the Queen Anne Revival style. These fireplaces exhibit such features as glazed coloured tile facings, beveled glass mirrors, and various posts/columns that are variations on the theme of the principal hall column.
Sophisticated and richly carved ornamental woodwork throughout the bottom two floors, including:
- the stained wood stairways, railings and banisters;
- the turned hall column with its hand-carved vine leaf pattern capital;
- the hinged & pocket wood doors with their corresponding casings and trim.