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Chief Operator's House Municipal Heritage Building

Conception Bay South, Newfoundland and Labrador, A1X, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2002/08/06

Front and side facades of the Chief Operator's House, Seal Cove, Conception Bay.; HFNL/ Deborah O'Rielly 2005
Chief Operator's House, Seal Cove, Conception Bay
Photo of front facade, Chief Operator's House, Seal Cove, Conception Bay South.  Photo taken 2004.; HFNL/ Deborah O'Rielly 2006.
Chief Operator's House, Seal Cove
Rear facade, north side, Chief Operator's House, Seal Cove, Conception Bay south.  Photo taken 2004.; HFNL/ Deborah O'Rielly 2006.
Chief Operator's House, Seal Cove

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/09/22

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Chief Operator’s House is a two storey, biscuit box style house located at 1600 Conception Bay Highway, Seal Cove, CBS. The house has a plain, unadorned exterior and it sits directly on the main road, surrounded by mature trees, and in close proximity to the old United Towns Electric Company hydro generating station and flume. The designation is confined to the footprint of the house.

Heritage Value

The Chief Operator’s House was designated a municipal heritage building because it has historic, environmental and aesthetic values.

The Chief Operator’s House is of significant historical importance because it forms an integral part of an electrical development project, undertaken by the United Towns Electric Company (UTE) in 1923. Located in the tiny community of Seal Cove the Chief Operator’s House was a marvel of its time equipped with both electricity and running water. Built by the UTE Co. in Seal Cove for the Chief Operator, Frank Jones held the position for 36 years. The Seal Cove plant, along with ones in Topsail, Heart’s Content and Victoria supplied the military base in Argentia with electricity in 1941. By 1954 the company grew to have assets in excess of $27,000,000 and was meeting a total annual load of 156 million KWhs. The house remains largely unchanged since its construction.

The Chief Operator’s House has environmental value because it is located next to the flume, which was used to deliver water to a 4540hp hydro generating station owned by the UTE Co. This close proximity allowed the Chief Operator to control the regular maintenance of the flume. The turbine station was within sight of the home, thereby allowing the Chief Operator the ability to walk there and fulfil his job requirements without the need for a company car (an expensive endeavour in 1923).

The Chief Operator’s House also has environmental value because it is situated on a lot with mature trees and a natural spring, which provides water to the home.

The Chief Operator’s House has aesthetic value because it is a good example of a Newfoundland vernacular home. The house is a biscuit box style and has a low pitch gable roof with felt covering. The single hung windows have 6/1 panes and are surrounded by flat moulding. The main entrance is located at the front, or street-side of the house, but the primary entrance is located at the side, entering into the kitchen through a linhay (porch). Wooden clapboard and wide cornerboards add to the simplicity of the house design. This house has remained unchanged both on the exterior and interior since it was constructed in 1923, and is a testament to the craftsmanship and materials of this early company house.

Source: Town of Conception Bay South Regular Council Meeting Motion #02-399 August 6, 2002.

Character-Defining Elements

All those original features of the company house, including:
-biscuit box style with linhay;
-two storey wooden structure;
-low pitch gable roof;
-wooden clapboard;
-wide cornerboards;
-6/1 single hung windows with wide, flat moulding;
-window dimensions, locations and orientations;
-primary entrance at the side, opening into the linhay;
-location, orientation and dimensions, general massing.



Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Authority

NL Municipality

Recognition Statute

Municipalities Act

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Technology and Engineering

Function - Category and Type



Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador
1 Springdale Street
St. John's, NL A1C 5V5

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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