Description of Historic Place
Maillou House is a picturesque two-storey, stone house located in Quebec City’s historic district. Its simple vernacular form with steep, gabled roof and high chimneys speaks to its French-Regime origins. Set flush to the sidewalk with a courtyard and outbuildings hidden behind a stone wall, it is a fine example of an urban house of the 18th century. The formal designation consists of the house at 17 rue Saint-Louis, the two stone outbuildings within the courtyard, and the stone wall which separates them from the street. The site now houses the Quebec Chamber of Commerce.
Maillou House was designated a national historic site of Canada in 1958 because:
- it is a very good example of French architecture in Canada;
- it served as the residence of several important figures;
- it was associated with the British army from 1815.
Built about 1737 as a one-storey structure by Jean-Baptiste Maillou, the house was raised one storey in 1767, extended at ground level in 1799 which was raised one storey in 1805, and a rear annex added between 1828 and 1831, by which time it had achieved its present form. The Maillou House is typical of the traditional domestic architecture of the French regime, a style that continued into the early 19th century and it is a good example of the urban residence of a well-to-do citizen of Lower Canada. Two outbuildings were built by the Royal Engineers in 1830 to serve as a stable and storage shed, together with the stone wall, during the time the house was held by the British army. The arrangement of the house and its outbuildings around the periphery of a closed court is one of the few extant examples of a once-typical urban grouping in the first decades of the 19th century.
Jean-Baptiste Maillou dit Desmoulins (1688-1753) built the house and lived in it until his death. He was one of the most important private landowners in Quebec during the French regime and one of the most successful building contractors of the time. Louis Liénard de Beaujeu de Villemonde, who owned the house from 1754 to 1766, was a military officer who rented the premises to other officers. After the British conquest, the military governor designated the house as the meeting place for the military council that would govern Quebec until civil government could be established. The council met there from 1760 to 1764. Antoine Juchereau Duchesnay (1740-1806), who lived in the house from 1766 until 1785 and added the second storey, acquired the house from his father-in-law Villemonde. Duchesnay was a wealthy and influential politician and businessman, an army and militia officer, a member of the Executive Council of Lower Canada, and seigneur of Beauport, Fossambault, Gaudarville, and Saint-Roch-des-Aulnaies. John Mervin Nooth, who lived in the house from 1785 until 1799, was superintendent of military hospitals for British North America. John Hale (1765-1838) who lived in the house from 1799 to 1815, was Deputy Pay Master General for the British troops, Inspector-General of Public Accounts, member of the legislative council of Quebec, militia commander, justice of the peace for Quebec, Montreal and Trois-Rivières, and seigneur of Saint-Anne-de-la-Pérade. He built a one-storey extension to the house to serve as an office for the British army treasury.
The crown acquired the property in 1815 and the Commissariat, Pay and Army Bill Offices charged with provisioning the troops were located there from 1815 to 1871. It served as the office of the British army’s chief administrator as well as the military treasury. After 1843, it also served as lodging for senior administrative officers. After British troops left Canada in 1871, the house was used as headquarters for the local militia for almost 60 years. Since then it has been used by local reserve forces and as the offices of the Quebec Chamber of Commerce.
Sources: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, November 1958, May 1960; Énoncé d’intégrité commemorative, 2003.
Key elements which relate to the heritage value of Maillou House include:
-the grouping of buildings on its property, including the house with two outbuildings arranged around an interior courtyard, behind a high stone wall;
-the house on its as-found footprint and two-storey, L-shaped massing;
-architectural elements typical of 18th-century domestic urban construction in Quebec, including a steeply sloped gable roof with small gabled dormers, stone chimneys placed off-centre along the roof ridge, the rough-cut stone construction with dressed stone trim, and rabbeted wooden door and window surrounds indicated the utilization of double windows since the origin;
-the evolved, vernacular nature of the house with its asymetrical façade and 19th-century features including a Venetian window and exterior iron shutters;
-evidence of the evolved interior layout and finishes including surviving partitions, hallways, stairwell, and wall recesses, vault with six-foot walls, small strong-room, and surviving 18th- and 19th- century interior detailing, including beams, wood trim, mantels and hardware;
-the two abutting outbuildings in their L-shaped configuration, single-storey, cubic massing with sloping, shed roofs, and stone construction;
-the stone marker of the Board of Ordnance embedded in the corner of the north-east building;
-the siting and orientation of the outbuildings in relation to the house, courtyard and stone wall;
-archaeological remains such as the foundations of former buildings and remains linked to use of the building as a commissariat in their extent and materials.