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Bartra Municipal Heritage Building

St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, A1C, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1987/04/15

View of main facade, Bartra, St. John's.  Photo taken 2005, after restoration.; Nikki Hart/ HFNL 2007
Bartra, St. John's, NL.
View of main facade, Bartra, prior to restoration. Date unknown.; HFNL 2007
Bartra, Circular Road, St. John's
Angled view of main facade. Photo taken prior to restoration. Date unknown.; HFNL 2007
Bartra, St. John's

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1904/01/01 to 1905/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/11/25

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Bartra is a two-and-a-half storey Queen Anne style structure located on historic Circular Road in St. John’s. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

Bartra has been designated a Municipal Heritage Building because of its historic and architectural values.

The history of Bartra is quite significant due to its associations with a number of very influential Newfoundland figures. Built 1904-1905, this house was designed by noted architect William F. Butler, who built many significant structures in the province. Originally, this house was constructed to accommodate the family of Walter S. Monroe, a native of Dublin, Ireland. Monroe was an established businessman and entered politics in 1923, though unsuccessfully. He was elected a year later and served as Prime Minister of Newfoundland during the turbulent years from 1924 to 1928. Monroe sold the property to William Reid, another very prominent Newfoundland figure. Reid is best known for his leading role in the construction of the Newfoundland railway, a development that greatly improved the lives of Newfoundland residents.

In 1933, the Reid family sold the property to A. E. Hickman, another of Newfoundland's most prominent businessmen. During his life he ran one of the island's most diverse and successful businesses operating under the name A. E. Hickman and Company Limited. Hickman capitalized early on the potential of the automobile in Newfoundland and set up one of the first car dealerships on the island. He, too, became involved in politics and in 1924 he served as Prime Minister of Newfoundland for just one month, the shortest term of leadership in the history of the province.

Architecturally, Bartra is a valuable fixture in the Rennie's Mill Road National Historic District. Situated on a sizeable mature lot, Bartra is one of the largest single family dwellings in the city of St. John’s. Built in the Queen Anne style, this house is typical of those built by William F. Butler. The impressive pedimented portico, multi-gable roof and numerous bays are a telltale sign of Butler’s involvement in the design of this house. His attention to detail and craftsmanship is exhibited in his selection of window treatments, eaves and moulding decoration. The exterior of this house conveys a sense of grandeur and elegance, which is fitting since it housed some of the most important figures in Newfoundland’s history. The lack of exterior alterations in combination with its overall appeal makes this house a rarity in St. John’s when compared to other houses built during the same time period.

Source: City of St. John’s, meeting held 1987/04/15

Character-Defining Elements

All elements that define the building's Queen Anne design including:
-asymmetry of facade;
-multi-gabled roof;
-pediments above dormers;
-multiple bays;
-narrow wooden clapboard on exterior;
-ornate exterior detailing including eaves brackets, scalloped shingles in pediments, fanlight detailing;
-original lead glass windows;
-original multi-paned windows throughout the house;
-thick window mouldings including entablatures;
-rounded windows and moulding on right gable end of house;
-turret located on the right gable end of house;
-size, dimensions and location of house; and,
-all original interior woodworking and additional elements that reflect the age and usage of the house.



Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Authority

City of St. John's

Recognition Statute

City of St. John's Development Regulations

Recognition Type

City of St. John's Heritage Building

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Hotel, Motel or Inn


Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer

William F.Butler


Horwood Lumber Co. (probably); HJ Thomas

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador,
1 Springdale Street,
St. John’s Newfoundland
A1C 5V5

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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