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Anglo American Telegraph Building Municipal Heritage Building

Placentia, Newfoundland and Labrador, A0B, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2006/08/19

Exterior view of the Anglo American Telegraph Building showing front and side facades.  Photo taken November 29, 2006.; Christopher J Newhook 2006/ HFNL 2006
Anglo American Telegraph Building
View of front facade, Anglo American Telegraph Building.  Photo taken November 29, 2006.; Christopher J Newhook 2006/ HFNL 2006
Anglo American Telegraph Building
View of front a side facades, Anglo American Telegraph Building.  Photo taken November 29, 2006.; Christopher J Newhook 2006/ HFNL 2006
Anglo American Telegraph Building

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/12/06

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Anglo American Telegraph Building is a two storey, wooden building with a mid-twentieth century wartime addition located at 2 Riverside Drive in Placentia. Built around 1876, the location provided transatlantic communications support for approximately sixty years. The designation encompasses the entire property surrounded by a fence.

Heritage Value

The Anglo American Telegraph Building has been designated a municipal heritage building because it has historical and architectural values.

The Anglo American Telegraph Building has historical value because of the role it played in transatlantic communications between Europe and North America. Built on 134 acres of land deeded by King William IV to Irishman Roger Sweetman in 1836, this building was a vital link between the Hearts Content Cable station and Nova Scotia. In 1876 Sweetman’s widow, Honora, sold the residence that her husband built to the Anglo American Telegraph Co. Ltd. After the successful transatlantic cable laying from Europe to Heart's Content, NL, more cables were laid to St. Pierre, Nova Scotia and subsequently USA. The Placentia cable office served as a repeating station for duplex circuits and relaying messages between Europe and North America. The Sweetman residence was home to the cable office until 1938 when it was sold to a private individual.

The Anglo American Telegraph Building has architectural value as it is reminiscent of the simple style and design often employed in the construction of company owned structures in outport Newfoundland. The 1940s addition also serves as a representative example of the tradition of remodelling homes to meet the evolving needs of residents. The expansion of this particular space proved beneficial as it provided supplemental income. During the 1940s and 1950s, the space was made available to American servicemen and their families while they were waiting for housing on the base in Argentia. The space was later converted into a convenience store.

Source: Town of Placentia council meeting August 19, 2006.

Character-Defining Elements

All those exterior features that reflect the outport, vernacular style of the company building including:
-main roof with very low peak;
-shed roof on porch and addition;
-number of storeys;
-narrow wooden clapboard;
-corner boards;
-window size, style, trim and placement;
-size, style, trim and placement of exterior doors;
-size, style and placement of porch on left front facade;
-size, style and placement of one storey addition on right front facade; and,
-dimensions, location and orientation of building.

All those original interior features that reflect the use of the building as a cable station, including;
- desk, wicket, counter and remains of cables.



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
Communications and Transportation

Function - Category and Type


Single Dwelling


Communications Facility

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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