William Alexander House Municipal Heritage Building
Bonavista, Newfoundland and Labrador, A0C, Canada
Links and documents
1811/01/01 to 1814/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
William Alexander House (also known as Bridge House) is a two-and-a-half storey wood framed Georgian style building. It is located near a bridge on Walkham’s Hill at 001 Alexander Street, Bonavista, Newfoundland and Labrador. The municipal heritage designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
William Alexander House is historically valuable for its age and its association with William Alexander. William Alexander House was built between 1811 and 1814 and is the oldest residential structure in Newfoundland that has been assigned a documented date. In the early 19th century, William Alexander, a prominent Scottish merchant planter, made his home in the flourishing fishing community of Bonavista. During his time in Bonavista he formed the firm of Alexander and Co. and contributed a great deal to the community of Bonavista.
William Alexander House is architecturally valuable for its uniqueness in the community of Bonavista. A two and a half storey, Georgian style house with a central hall plan, William Alexander House is the only house of this style in Bonavista. It features a highly symmetrical, 3 bay front façade capped by peaked dormers on a steep gable roof with end chimneys. This house is the earliest documented one in Bonavista, and helped define the architectural character of the community.
William Alexander House is also architecturally valuable for its association with Alexander Strathie. In 1811, William Alexander commissioned his fellow Scottish countryman, builder and architect, Alexander Strathie to build him a house in Bonavista. Strathie came to Newfoundland from Renfrew, Scotland in 1811 and began construction on William Alexander House. Alexander House was the first building that Strathie built in Bonavista, but it would not be his last. Strathie stayed in Newfoundland and constructed many more buildings in Bonavista including a home for his family which eventually became known as “Renfrew Castle.” His architectural legacy continued through the generations to his son Ronald Strathie and others.
William Alexander House has environmental value because it contributes greatly to the landscape of Bonavista. Located on Walkham’s Hill it's size and style are prominantly displayed from both land and sea, standing as a testament to the affluence and influence of William Alexander in the community. It is also significant for its location next to a bridge, from whence it presumably gets its alternative name, Bridge House.
Source: Town of Bonavista, Town Council meeting minutes of 2006/08/14
Those exterior elements that reflect the Georgian style of architecture, including:
-3 bay façade;
-number of storeys;
-narrow wooden clapboard sheathing;
-steep gable roof;
-location of entrance; and
-general massing, location and orientation.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Trade and Commerce
Function - Category and Type
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Town of Bonavista, PO Box 269, Bonavista, NL A0C 1B0
Cross-Reference to Collection