Sir James Dunn House
Maison Sir James Dunn
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Dayspring is a spacious elongated one-and-a-half storey (two-and-a-half storeys in rear) stucco building with an asymmetrical display of dormer windows and cross gables. The home was built in the Tudor Revival style in 1927.
Dayspring is recognized as a Local Historic Place for its architecture and for its association with Lewis Egerton Smoot and Sir James Dunn.
Dayspring is a good example of Tudor Revival residential architecture from the early 20th century in St. Andrews. It is distinguished by its many dormer windows and cross gables. The stone cylindrical towers with conical roofs are also a charming aspect of the home. Stone work is also used for the pillars that support the enclosed veranda. Numerous stone chimneys are displayed along the slope of the gabled roof. This style was very popular in the 1920’s and 1930’s for upper class citizens living in suburban or rural areas. This style is loosely based on late medieval prototypes.
Dayspring was built in 1927 for American business executive Lewis Egerton Smoot. Mr. Smoot served as the president of Smoot Sand and Gravel Corporation until 1960. His major accomplishments include the contract for the first filtration plant in Washington, a project that was said to have brought him enough financial remuneration to retire if he wished, although he was still only 24 years of age. He also supplied materials for the Statler Hotel, the British Embassy, and the Potomac River Bridge at Morgantown, Maryland and supplied more than 2 million tons of material for the building of the Pentagon. A noted philanthropist, he and his estate donated such things as schools, parkland and libraries.
In 1945, two years after the death of his first wife, Mr. Smoot sold his St. Andrews home to Cannelton Coal and Coke Company, of Cannelton, West Virginia. While this company owned the building, Sir James Dunn and Lady Dunn occupied it from 1947 until Mr. Dunn passed away here New Year’s Day 1956. After his death, Lady Dunn obtained the home from the coal company and returned here often until the 1990’s. Being elderly and wanting privacy, Sir James Dunn built the 9 foot fence that surrounds the property. He had a theatre built in this home and was said to have had the latest movies delivered to him from New York by his private plane. Sir James Dunn was a major Canadian financier and industrialist. He was a prominent stockbroker in Montreal and his brokerage work led to business connections with some of the elite of corporate Canada. As Algoma Steel’s president and chairman of its board of directors, he successfully turned it into one of the largest steel mills of the day. A number of foundations, buildings, and academic Chairs bear his name. In St. Andrews his name is still associated with much of the infrastructure of the town. He donated fire halls and trucks, school, legion, and arena complex to the town.
Source: St. Andrews Civic Trust - Charlotte County Archives, St. Andrews, New Brunswick
The character defining elements related to the location and context of Dayspring include:
- spacious lawn with a rich array of flora;
- 9 foot wooden fence surrounding the property;
- stone sundial;
- stone table and bench set.
The character defining elements related to the architecture of Dayspring include:
- overall one-and-a-half and two-and-a-half storey rectangular massing;
- stucco walls;
- hipped and gabled roofs;
- insignias of pre-historic or mythological animals discretely placed near the point of some gables;
- single and paired windows with numerous muntins;
- numerous gable dormer windows;
- square bay windows;
- cross gables;
- numerous stone chimneys;
- built-in verandas with stone pillars;
- stone cylindrical towers with conical roofs capped by finials with intertwined fish and trident;
- clinging vine.
Local Governments (NB)
Local Historic Places Program
Municipal Register of Local Historic Places
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Trade and Commerce
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
Function - Category and Type
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Charlotte County Archives, 123 Frederick Street
St. Andrews, NB
Cross-Reference to Collection