Description of Historic Place
Built in 1859, the Berry Building is a wooden three-storey, Classic Revival commercial building with overhanging flat-topped roof and fluted pilasters breaking the plane of the façade. It is located on the northeast corner of Water and Williams Streets.
The Berry Building is designated as a Local Historic Place for its architecture, for its association with commercial ventures in St. Andrews, for being a contributing element to the wonderful collection of 19th century commercial architecture on Water Street in St. Andrews, and, more generally, for being a representation of the fruition from the prosperity created by the advancement of the railway.
The Berry Building is recognized for being a good example of Classic Revival commercial architecture from the mid 19th century in St. Andrews. This style is characterized by the fluted pilasters that break the plane of the façade. This property has a recessed entranceway and has charming paired storefront windows with attractive base panels. The flat-topped roof with modillions and height of the building is in keeping with the adjoining properties along this streetscape.
The Berry Building is also recognized for its association with past commercial ventures. The building was built in 1859 by Thomas Berry. Thomas Berry owned a lot of land and buildings in this vicinity, and is listed as the architect for the historic courthouse in St. Andrews which was built in 1840. Many business ventures were in this building. It is known that merchant tailor James McKinney, who immigrated to St. Andrews about 1848, operated a tailoring establishment here for a number of years in the early days of this structure. Mr. Cockburn also started his long established prescription drug business in this building. The building also served as Barnabus Campbell’s grocery store and was the headquarters for Maritime Electric.
The Berry Building is also recognized for being a contributing element to the collection of 19th century architecture in downtown St. Andrews. St. Andrews is internationally renowned for its charming 19th century shops along Water Street and this property, along with the three adjoining properties, contribute to this cachet. Three buildings and four shops run together and form a homogenous block face. These buildings share three-storey massings with flat-top roofs and modillions, recessed entranceways, and large consumer- attracting storefront entranceways. The storefront cornices of the three properties connect, adding to the uniformity.
St. Andrews was a prosperous loyalist town and fell second only to the City of Saint John. For the first half of the 19th century, population and development declined until the introduction of the railway. In 1859, St. Andrews was booming as a result of advancement in the railways and the lumber industry. The year this building was completed, many old buildings along Water Street were demolished and replaced with fine structures such as the Berry Building. The population of St. Andrews rose to 4,000 in 1859.
Source: Charlotte County Archives, Old Gaol, St. Andrews, N. B.
The character-defining elements of the Berry Building include:
- three-storey square massing;
- overhanging flat-topped roof with modillion brackets;
- short 2/2 wood framed windows, without entablatures, flush against the eaves;
- second storey 2/2 wood framed windows below small, slanted and bracketed entablatures;
- three large fluted pilasters supporting the roof-line cornice;
- wood cladding;
- projecting storefront cornice with dentil blocks;
- pilasters dividing storefront windows and entranceways;
- uniform recessed wood panels above and below large perpendicular storefront windows;
- paired entry doors below a two-part transom window;
- close proximity to street.