Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The O'Neill Complex is a one-storey vernacular building with an elongated rectangular massing. Built circa 1828, this residence is in close proximity to Water Street in St. Andrews.
The O’Neill Complex is designated a Local Historic Place for its architecture and for its 143 year association with the O’Neill family.
Irish immigrant Henry O’Neill had this complex built circa 1828. Many locals have wondered about this unusual elongated building which, at first glance, resembles some sort of barracks. The block upon which this building stands was known locally as the O’Neill Block in honour of Henry O’Neill. The complex is basically two homes put together, with the home on the left having an extra rank of windows on each side of the entrance. This was most probably the home of Henry O’Neill and his sons.
Henry O’Neill was one of the most successful early Irish settlers and he and his family became one of the most philanthropic families in the Town of St. Andrews. Henry immigrated to Canada in March 1818 from Tyrone County, Ireland, arriving in Saint John after a two month voyage. Having secured a sub-contract for supplying provisions to the troops quartered in the garrison at St. Andrews, he moved to this town in 1821.
Evidence of his popularity among the early Catholic immigrants is evident in the fact that the first Catholic mass in St. Andrews was held at his first home in 1822, where a collection of 30 pounds was obtained to build a church. He was a consistent advocate of total abstinence and his benevolent activities were numerous. He raised a family of 12 children and passed away in 1884 at the age of 92. He was one of the last of the early Irish immigrants. Upon his death, the meat business that he had established in 1823 was carried on by his sons under the name of H. O’Neill. This residential building was owned by Henry O’Neill and his descendants for a total of 143 years.
Architecturally, this home consists of a simple common vernacular style. The simple roof-line, low plan with symmetrical proportions, and multi-pane windows add to its charming rustic appearance. This block was used for O’Neill’s large farm which was once surrounded by a white thorn hedge from quicks imported from Belfast, Ireland.
Source: Charlotte County Archives - Old Gaol, St. Andrews, New Brunswick - St. Andrews Historic Places File, "O'Neill Complex"
The character-defining elements of the O’Neill Complex include:
- elongated rectangular single-storey massing;
- two distinct forms of vernacular architecture in a single elongated complex;
- gable roof with flush eaves;
- multi-paned windows;
- wood cladding with narrow corner boards;
- exposed rock foundation;
- close proximity to the street.
Local Governments (NB)
Local Historic Places Program
Municipal Register of Local Historic Places
Theme - Category and Type
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
- Peopling the Land
- Migration and Immigration
Function - Category and Type
- Multiple Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Charlotte County Archives - Old Gaol, St. Andrews, New Brunswick
Cross-Reference to Collection