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Mel's Tea Room

17 Bridge Street, Sackville, New Brunswick, E4L, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2006/06/12

Mel's Tea Room - Front façade - Building in business area ; Town of Sackville
Mel's Tea Room
Mel's Tea Room - Streetscape on Bridge Street - Mel's neighbours; Town of Sackville
Mel's Tea Room
Mel's Tea Room - Front entrance - Note the Carrera glass; Town of Sackville
Mel's Tea Room

Other Name(s)

Mel's Tea Room
C. W. Cahill Block
Immeuble C. W. Cahill

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1913/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2007/03/07

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Mel’s Tea Room is a distinctive brick and stone landmark on Bridge Street in downtown Sackville. This large Classical Revival two-storey building, with large display windows and recessed doorway, has a neon sign and green Carrera glass, symbolic of the Art Moderne period.

Heritage Value

Mel’s Tea Room is designated a Local Historic Place for its location, for its architecture and for its role in the community.

Mel’s Tea Room is recognized as a landmark in the Sackville business district. This district was developed shortly after the construction of the great bridge over the Tantramar River in 1840. A major fire in 1912 burned the original buildings on lower Bridge Street. Cahill Block, now known as Mel's Tea Room, was built for C.W. Cahill the next year. The building is a twin with the adjoining Fawcett Block. C. W. Cahill had a stock of dry goods, carpets and home furnishings. He also made a specialty of millinery. The second floor, accessed by an interior stairway, housed the Cahill Millinery Parlours and had the patronage of many of the ladies of Sackville. Melbourne Goodwin, owner of Mel's Tea Room which first opened its doors in 1919, purchased Cahill Block in 1944 and relocated the Tea Room to this location in 1945. The tea room served as an iconic social meetingplace for the community.

Mel’s Tea Room is a good example of Classical Revival commercial sandstone architecture from the early 20th century in Sackville. This large two-storey building, built in 1913, is constructed of brick and local stone and exhibits large display windows and recessed doorway. The renovations, which took place in the 1940's as a result of the relocation of Mel's Tea Room to this location, included the installation of neon signs and Carrera glass. An entrance to the second floor allowed for an Art Moderne rehabilitation of that space while respecting the original architecture. Melbourne Goodwin installed twenty-one sets of Maritime made booths with comfortable seating, and a long soda fountain with twelve stools. All of these additions were made for the convenience of the public at the opening in January 1945 and are still in place today.

Source: Town of Sackville, Historic Places File Cabinet, Mel's Tea Room File

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements that describe Mel’s Tea Room include:
- 2-storey rectangular massing;
- flat roof;
- brick from Pugwash, trimmed with stone from the Read’s quarry, a local site;
- distinctive date stone, stone cornice and quoins;
- original window openings on second floor;
- transom inset with faux look of twelve smaller panes of glass;
- large show windows, supported by base panels, columns and narrow transom;
- two doorways: one deeply recessed to allow access to the business and a second door allowing access to upper floor reflecting the notion of rehabilitation;
- overhanging green Mel’s neon sign and Carrera glass, added in 1945;
- interior elements, including booths, soda fountain and stools.

Recognition

Jurisdiction

New Brunswick

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (NB)

Recognition Statute

Local Historic Places Program

Recognition Type

Municipal Register of Local Historic Places

Recognition Date

2006/06/12

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1912/01/01 to 1912/01/01
1945/01/01 to 1945/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Trade and Commerce
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type

Current

Historic

Commerce / Commercial Services
Eating or Drinking Establishment
Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment

Architect / Designer

n/a

Builder

James A. Hicks

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Town of Sackville, Historic Places File Cabinet, Mel's Tea Room File

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

1132

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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