Description of Historic Place
Military Compound consists of a two city blocks along the Saint John River in the centre of Fredericton enclosed by Regent, Queen, and York Streets and St. Anne Point Drive. The site contains 10 buildings historically associated with the three levels of government, civic park space, a statue of Lord Beaverbrook and canons, all surrounded by an iron fence.
Military Compound is designated a Provincial Historic Site for being a 2 block area that has evolved from a military establishment to accommodating a variety of federal, provincial and municipal institutions for over a period of more than 200 years.
Military Compound is designated for its association with the military history of New Brunswick. With the arrival of the Loyalists after the American Revolution, Fredericton was made the capital of the new colony of New Brunswick in 1784. British military were stationed in the Military Compound to protect the new colony from invasion overland along the American border. The British military remained on the site until 1869. The Canadian government continued military activities at the Military Compound. A Drill Hall was constructed in 1885 which is still in use by the Canadian military. Discovered archaeological resources reflect the use of this site as a military compound, while their is a strong potential for yet-to-be discovered resources.
The heritage value of the site also resides in its historic and continued use by the three levels of governement. The federal government also maintained offices on the site which resulted in two post office buildings being constructed on the east block in 1882 and 1913.
On the west block, the Province of New Brunswick first constructed a Normal School in 1876, which was rebuilt in 1930 and is now the provincial Justice Building. Later the province constructed a Liquor Commission Building, which is now occupied by the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design. The Fredericton Public Library and York Regional Library occupy the newest building on the site, constructed in 1975.
Military Compound is now a centre for cultural activities in the city - with the library, New Brunswick College of Craft and Design, several museums, a statue of Lord Beaverbrook and open spaces for cultural events.
Source: Department of Wellness, Culture and Sport - Heritage Branch, Site File: Vol.I-12880-1,1
The character-defining elements that define the site of the Military Compound include:
- distinctive character of the 2 block institutional area in contrast to the commercial buildings on opposite side of Queen Street;
- distinctive late 19th century decorative cast iron fence along perimeter of the site;
- Officers Square, which includes: park amenities, statue of Lord Beaverbrook, canons, large mature trees and open green spaces;
- vista of the Saint John River from various areas of the site;
- pedestrian access to the river from the site maintains traditional riverfront access;
- discovered and yet-to-be discovered archaeological resources associated with the past use of the site as a military compound.
The character-defining elements that define the 10 buildings on the site include:
Old Militia Stores Building:
- only surviving wooden structure from the British period;
- wooden 2-storey Georgian building;
- use City tourism office.
Drill Hall (Armouries) (1885):
- Neoclassical brick and sandstone building;
- pavilion layout;
- continued use by the military.
The following three sandstone buildings of Georgian influence built by the British military, the interiors of which illustrate the living conditions of British soldiers:
Soldiers’ Barracks (1827):
- rectangular stone 2 1/2-storey massing;
- gable roof;
- use as provincial offices.
Guard House (1828):
- rectangular stone single-storey massing;
- hipped roof;
- pillared walkway.
Officers Quarters (1842 and 1851):
- rectangular stone 3-storey massing;
- gable roof;
- Roman arch arcade on the 1st floor;
- open veranda on the 2nd floor;
- use as the York-Sunbury Museum.
Old Post Office and Customs House (John Thurston Clark Memorial Building) (1882):
- box-like 2 ½-storey Second Empire massing;
- mansard roof with elaborate dormers;
- former use as the public library;
- use as the NB Sports Hall of Fame.
Old Post Office (1913):
- monumental massing;
- ashlar masonry;
- large classical portico with Ionic pillars, pediment, dentils, modillions and bracketed entablature over the door;
- cornice with modillions and dentils.
Provincial Normal School (1876 and 1930):
- Italianate and Neoclassical three-storey building;
- brick and sandstone construction;
- rectangular, segmented arch and Roman arch windows;
- use as the Justice Building.
New Brunswick Liquor Commission Building (1940):
- Neoclassical 4-storey massing;
- brick and sandstone construction;
- use as the New Brunswick College of Craft and Design.
Fredericton Public Library and York Regional Library:
- modern brick building.
The character-defining elements that define the cultural association with the Military Compound include:
- current uses of various buildings and spaces as museums, art gallery, college of design, library, open space for concerts and theatre, changing of the guard in the summertime, ice skating in the wintertime.