Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
018 Gower Street is the western side of a semi-detached, Second Empire home located on Gower Street, one of downtown St. John’s oldest streets. This wooden house has original two storey bay windows and peaked dormers projecting from the Mansard roof. The designation is confined to the footprint of the semi-detached building.
018 Gower Street is significant for its aesthetic and historic values.
018 Gower Street is aesthetically valuable as it is a fine example of a Second Empire row house style in downtown St. John’s. This architectural style, made popular in St. John’s by John T. Southcott after the devastating Great Fire of 1892, employs many features found on this house. Gower Street was in the direct path of this fire which destroyed much of the city, and the house signifies the renewal and rebirth of St. John’s after 1892, particularly as it relates to the merchant class style homes. Second Empire attributes include the Mansard roof which is pierced by peaked dormers, one with a double window, and one with a single window. The two-storey bay windows add dimension and depth through the use of stained glass, fascia boards and wooden shingles. The main door has two side lights and a transom while the open, covered porch has a steeply pitched pedimented roof. This house is sheathed in narrow wooden clapboard with wide corner boards and wide window mouldings and a moulded stringcourse runs under the eaves.
18 Gower Street is one part of a three part grouping of row houses similarly painted. This continuity of exterior colors, shapes and sizes add to the row house "look" of the properties. 18 Gower Street is neighbor to the attached houses, numbers 20 and 22 Gower Street, but not attached to them. It doesn't resemble it's own semi-attached house, 16 Gower Street in exterior paint colors, but the style of architecture is very similar.
018 Gower Street is valuable for its historic associations with William H. Whiteley (1834-1903). Whiteley was a fisherman, merchant, inventor and politician. Whiteley established an extensive fishing business at Bonne-Esperance, a small island of Quebec, and employed around 50 people in the cod, salmon, herring and seal business. He was also responsible for having invented the cod trap, a large box-like apparatus with netting and an opening into which the cod are directed by a long net extending to the shore. Whiteley’s invention became immensely successful and improved overall productivity of the cod fishery. Whiteley was a long term leasee of 018 Gower Street, and several members of his large family lived in this and the surrounding duplexes for many years. George Whiteley was the occupier of 018 Gower Street from circa 1906 to circa 1918 and remained part the estate of J. Whiteley until circa 1955.
Source: Designated at a regular meeting of the St. John's Municipal council held April 25, 2006, minutes SJMC2006-04-25/252R.
All those elements that define the 19th century Second Empire style of row housing, including:
-two storey bay windows with fascia boards;
-stained glass windows;
-moulded stringcourse below eavesline;
-narrow wooden clapboard and wooden shingles on bay windows;
-pedimented porticoes supported by narrow columns;
-side lights and transoms;
-wide window trim and cornerboards;
-all window and door openings; and
-location, orientation, massing and dimensions.
Newfoundland and Labrador
City of St. John's
City of St. John's Development Regulations
City of St. John's Heritage Building
Theme - Category and Type
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
Function - Category and Type
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Hotel, Motel or Inn
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, 1 Springdale Street, PO Box 5171, St. John's, NL, A1C 5V5
Cross-Reference to Collection