Armstrong and Bruce Building
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Armstrong and Bruce Building is a wide, three-storey brick Italianate building with a central pilaster dividing the north and south portions. The light-coloured brick storefront design is the result of remodelling in 1913. It is located within the boundary of the Trinity Royal area of the City of Saint John.
The Armstrong and Bruce Building is designated a Local Historic Place for its architecture and for its association with its former occupants.
The Armstrong and Bruce Building is one of a collection of commercial and residential Italianate buildings that were built after two thirds of the city was destroyed by the Great Saint John Fire of 1877. Constructed circa 1879 and remodelled in 1913, this building is a good example of Italianate architecture from the rebuilding period in Saint John. This style is evident in the decorative brickwork under the cornice, the segmented arch window openings and the rectangular massing. The use of brick and the quality of the workmanship in this building represent the will for the city to rebuild, as well or better, after the fire.
The Armstrong and Bruce Building is also recognized for its original use and for its association with its former occupants that conducted business here. The original occupants of the north side of the building were W. H. Olive and his son Chipman Ingersoll Olive. They were manufacturers’ agents and ship brokers. In 1892, Chipman moved next door and this building was converted into Lang's Restaurant.
From the time of construction until 1892, the southern end of this building was Teresa Flanagan's liquor store. The upper quarters of this building were used as a boarding house. One noteworthy resident, from 1893-1906, was Oscar Silberstein, a cigar maker from Brooklyn, New York. His factory was on the corner of Prince William Street and Church Street in Saint John.
The Armstrong and Bruce Building is also recognized for its long time association with the insurance agency of Armstrong and Bruce. Beverly Robinson Armstrong and Robert Hugh Bruce formed a partnership in 1911. They first occupied this building in 1924 and a branch of this firm still carries on business at this location after 81 years. Armstrong was a decorated veteran of the Boer War and the First World War. Bruce served in the First World War as well.
Source: Planning and Development Department - City of Saint John
The character defining elements that describe the Italianate architecture of the Armstrong and Bruce Building include:
- wide, rectangular three-storey massing;
- brick exterior walls;
- overall symmetry of the front façade;
- brick corbel bands under a moulded cornice;
- segmented arch window openings;
- rectangular vertical sliding wood windows;
- projecting decorative brickwork extending across the façade, connecting with the sandstone lintels and sills;
- brick pilaster dividing the north and south portions of the building;
- two segmented arch openings with paired windows;
- remodelled storefront with light-coloured brick and two commercial entrances.
Local Governments (NB)
Municipal Heritage Preservation Act, s.5(1)
Municipal Heritage Preservation Act
1913/01/01 to 1913/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Trade and Commerce
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
Function - Category and Type
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Office or Office Building
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Planning and Development Department - City of Saint John
Cross-Reference to Collection