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Frederick G. Spencer Residence

41 Orange Street, Saint John, New Brunswick, E2L, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1982/03/18

This photograph is a contextual view of the building, 2005.; City of Saint John
Frederick G. Spencer Residence - Contextual view
This image provides a view of one of the two, single storey oriel windows, 2005; City of Saint John
Frederick G. Spencer Residence - Oriel windows
This image provides a view of the pedimented portico, the transom window, the sidelights and the wooden door with multiple glass panels, 2005; City of Saint John
Frederick G. Spencer Residence - Entrance

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2009/02/18

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Frederick G. Spencer Residence is a wooden two-storey Craftsman building with a large cornice and a pedimented portico. It is located on Orange Street within the Orange Street Preservation Area of the City of Saint John.

Heritage Value

The Frederick G. Spencer Residence is designated a Local Historic Place for its architecture and for its association with its former occupants.

Built in 1914, the Frederick G. Spencer Residence is recognized for being a part of the building boom near the turn of the 20th century. The Great Saint John Fire of 1877 destroyed nearly the entire Central Peninsula of the City of Saint John and the commercial district of the city was quickly rebuilt. However, many of the residential lots were not immediately built upon due in part to residents building further away from the commercial districts and due to many residents deserting the city in need of immediate employment. In the late 1890's and early 1900's, these lots were being built upon in a feverish manner. This residence is a good example of Craftsman residential architecture from this delayed building period following the fire.

The Frederick G. Spencer Residence is also recognized for its association with Frederick G. Spencer. Built by William Kenneth Haley of Haley Brothers & Co., Spencer purchased and took up residence at this property in 1919. Born and raised in Saint John, Spencer initially entered the tailoring business of his grandfather’s at the age of 16. Four years later, after marrying a young Saint John singer, Helen Craigle, his interest shifted to the entertainment industry. He managed the Canadian concert tours of a number of famous performers including Madame Albani, Melba, Nordica and several others. He soon became known as the leading impresario of Canada. A few years following, he opened and operated one of Saint John’s earliest theatres located on Charlotte Street known as “The Unique”. This one theatre expanded to several across the Eastern coast of Canada. In 1945, his chain of theatres merged with the Famous Players Canadian Corporation. Even outside of his illustrious career, Spencer proved to be a strong promoter of musical life in the City. He was one of the founders of the Community Concert Association and a patron of the Saint John Symphony and Orchestra. Spencer was also involved in a number of philanthropic organizations including the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, the Salvation Army, the Old Ladies Home and the Y.M.C.A. In addition, he served on the board and was regent of Mount Allison University. In 1952, he was one of six individuals selected in the country to be honoured by the Canadian Picture Pioneers Association. At his death later that year, he was praised as one of Canada’s leading figures in the entertainment industry whose career spanned almost sixty years. Spencer resided at this address until 1938.

Source: Planning and Development Department - City of Saint John

Character-Defining Elements

The character defining elements that describe the Frederick G. Spencer Residence include:
- asymmetrical two-storey massing;
- shingle siding;
- large wooden cornice ornamented by modillions;
- double, triple and quadruple windows;
- rectangular vertical sliding, 6/1 and 12/1 wooden windows with flared hoods;
- two single-storey oriel windows.

The character-defining elements of the entranceway include:
- elevated portico with pediment;
- three-paned rectangular transom window;
- five-paned sidelights;
- wooden door with multi-pane glass panels.



New Brunswick

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (NB)

Recognition Statute

Municipal Heritage Preservation Act, s.5(1)

Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Preservation Act

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1919/01/01 to 1938/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Learning and the Arts
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type


Multiple Dwelling


Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer



William Kenneth Haley

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Planning and Development Department - City of Saint John

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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