Description of Historic Place
This one-and-a-half storey wooden Italianate residence is located on a hill set back from the road on Wright Street overlooking the “Valley” and the Uptown area of Saint John.
The J.S. Boies Deveber Residence is designated a Local Historic Place for its architecture as well as for its association with past residents, including both Liberal and Conservative Members of Parliament.
The J.S. Boies Deveber Residence has architectural value as a good example of an Italianate home holding a landmark position on a hill within the traditional “Valley” area of central Saint John. It is one of the oldest buildings on this block face of Wright Street, most likely built between 1866 and 1876 for J.S. Boies Deveber. It follows a symmetrical plan, with a long, low, one-and-half storey front façade with a central two-storey entrance frontispiece. The surviving original finials with pendants at the lateral roof peaks are also traditional elements of this specific Italianate sub-style. Other decorative elements, such as the entablatures over the paired windows and the broken pediment doorway surround add a Classical flavour.
The J.S. Boies Deveber Residence is also recognized for its association with past residents J.S. Boies Deveber, Josiah Fowler, and Douglas King Hazen. J.S. Boies Deveber (1830-1908), a merchant and politician, was listed in 1872 as one of “the moneyed men of Portland.” (Portland eventually amalgamated with the City of Saint John.) He likely had this house built circa 1870 and lived here for approximately ten years. He had a large family, with several daughters married by his brother Rev. Deveber out of nearby St. Paul’s (Valley) Church. Deveber was in business with his father and brother. Their mercantile house, L.H. Deveber and Sons, was located on Prince William Street and suffered great loss in the Great Fire of 1877. J.S. Boies Deveber was a Liberal Member of Parliament from 1873 to 1878, interrupting the tenure of Samuel Leonard Tilley, and was mayor of Saint John from 1885-1887, probably shortly after he sold this residence.
Josiah Fowler was one of 14 children from of a Loyalist-descended family from French Village. He owned a factory on City Road which employed approximately 20 people in 1888 and made springs, axles, edge tools etc. His axes and adzes are collector’s items today and are renowned for their high quality. Like many Saint John residents, Josiah Fowler served in the American Civil War. At least one daughter was born at his Wright Street residence in 1884. He occupied the J.S. Boies Deveber Residence from 1888 to 1913.
The J.S. Boies Deveber Residence was occupied by prominent lawyer Douglas King Hazen from 1922 until 1944. Hazen was a barrister, WWI artilleryman, King’s Counsel, Master of the Supreme Court of New Brunswick and politician. He began practising law in 1909 with his father, Sir Douglas Hazen, a Chief Justice of the province. In 1912, King joined C. F. Inches under the name of Inches and Hazen and, in 1934, he was appointed King’s Counsel. In 1953 he was appointed one of five Masters of the Supreme Court of New Brunswick for the City and County of Saint John. In 1940, Mr. Hazen was elected to the House of Commons as a Conservative representative. His important social contributions included being president of the New Brunswick Fish and Game Association and of the Saint John Horticultural Society.
Source: Planning and Development Department – City of Saint John
The character-defining elements of this Italianate residence include:
- medium-pitched side-gabled roof;
- symmetrical front façade;
- central frontispiece;
- symmetrically-placed chimneys along the roof ridge;
- placement and proportions of vertical sliding wood windows;
- bay window on side façade with dentillated cornice;
- rear wing including original cornice overhang with brackets;
- upper storey of frontispiece with three-part windows, Roman arch headers and brackets under the eaves;
- finials and drop pendants at the peaks of the lateral gables;
- entrance in lower storey of the frontispiece;
- double windows with prominent moulded entablatures and Ionic pilasters on the outer bays of the front façade.
The character-defining elements of the entrance portico include:
- wooden door with moulded panels topped by Roman arch transom;
- entablature returns supported by Doric columns;
- broken pediment entablature with dentils.