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Christian Steeves House

45 Pleasant Street, Hillsborough, New Brunswick, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2009/12/07

The house was built in 1840 and inhabited by six generations of the Steeves Family.; Village of Hillsborough
Christian Steeves House
Image of the house from the southeast. Although the home appears small, it has seven large rooms upstairs and eight rooms downstairs.; Village of Hillsborough
Christian Steeves House
An invitation to all Steeves to a party celebrating the centennial of the arrival of the Steeves family. It was held on the lawns of the Christian Steeves House on September 24, 1867.; Village of Hillsborough, from William Henry Steeves House archives
Steeves Family centenial poster

Other Name(s)

Christian Steeves House
Black Cottage
Black Cottage
John T. Steeves House
Maison John T. Steeves

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2010/03/30

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Christian Steeves House is a one-and-a-half storey variation on the Cape Cod house design that was built in 1840 by Christian Albertson Steeves. It is located on Pleasant Street in Hillsborough.

Heritage Value

The Christian Steeves House is designated a Local Historic Place for its association with the Steeves Family and for its architecture.

This house was built by Christian Steeves, the grandson of the founders of the Steeves dynasty, Heinrick and Rachel (Stief) Steeves, who, with their seven sons, settled on the Petitcodiac River in 1766. In 1867 the then owner, John T. Steeves, hosted a picnic on his lawns celebrating the centennial of the arrival of the Steeves Family’s. Adding to the Family’s festive mood was the fact that one of their own, The Honourable William Henry Steeves was one of the Fathers of Confederation and had been named to the first Senate of Canada. While the family name ‘Steeves’ was coined in Hillsborough, it has now spread to every corner of the world. Likewise, the call to public service was not confined to William Henry. This house was built by the great, great grandfather of the present leader of the federal New Democratic Party of Canada, Mr. Jack Layton. During the time when Mrs. Doris (Steeves) Layton visited her grandparents here the house was called the ‘Black Cottage’ because of its colour. This house has been continuously inhabited by five generations of the Steeves Family during the past one hundred and seventy years.

The Christian Steeves House is also recognized as an example of a vernacular interpretation of Cape Cod residential architecture. Although the house has always been a single family dwelling it features two identical entrances each with its own Grind Stone Island-quarried, rolled-edged, stone step. The broad-based central cross-gable over the hipped-roof porticos of each entrance lends the house its quizzical expression. This house originally stood on a several hundred acre grant of land extending north to Academy Street south to the Marsh and west beyond the old reservoir. The road built to service the house was called Lovers Lane. During the Victorian age, this name was considered a tad too racy and was changed to Pleasant Street.

Source: Heritage Hillsborough, William Henry Steeves House Museum, Local Historic Places files

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Christian Steeves House include:
- located on Pleasant Street, formerly Lovers Lane, on the crown of a gentle slope rising from road level;
- symmetrical one-and-a-half storey rectangular massing;
- lateral gable roof with a large, broad-based central cross-gable;
- twin entrance porticos with hipped-roofs;
- entrances with multi-paned transoms and sidelights;
- walls measuring a foot thick at the window casings;
- hand-hewn stone steps from Grind Island Quarry servicing each of the twin entrances;
- a larger stone step, once used in front of the barn door, bears the initials of the home’s second owner, John Trites Steeves (J. T. S.);
- two-foot thick stone basement foundation with water cistern;
- large interior spatial layout (misleading from the exterior), including eight rooms downstairs featuring ten foot high ceilings and seven large rooms upstairs that are not as confined by the slope of the roof as is usual in Cape Cod style homes;
- eight inch wide softwood tongue-and-grove flooring.



New Brunswick

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (NB)

Recognition Statute

Local Historic Places Program

Recognition Type

Municipal Register of Local Historic Places

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design
Peopling the Land
Migration and Immigration

Function - Category and Type



Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer



Christian Albertson Steeves

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

William Henry Steeves House Museum, 40 Mill Street, Hillsborough, NB E4H 2Z8

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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