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Hiram Weldon Palmer House

76 Water Street, Dorchester, New Brunswick, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2010/04/19

Image taken from Water Street; Village of Dorchester
Hiram Weldon Palmer House
Image showing the front entrance; Village of Dorchester
Hiram Weldon Palmer House
View of summer kitchen in 1982; Greg Partridge
Hiram Weldon Palmer House

Other Name(s)

Hiram Weldon Palmer House
Hiram Palmer House
Maison Hiram Palmer

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2010/07/08

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Hiram Weldon Palmer House is an Italianate style house with a widow’s walk located on Water Street near Palmers Pond in Dorchester. It is one of three remaining houses built by the Palmer brothers, widely renowned 19th century shipbuilders. His brothers Marcus Barlow and Philip Jeremiah also had residences on Water Street.

Heritage Value

The Hiram Weldon Palmer House was designated for its association with the Palmer family, for its association with the ship building industry, for its association with some of Dorchester’s first Acadian settlers and for the its architecture.

The Hiram Weldon Palmer House is recognized for its association with the Palmer family. Hiram Weldon Palmer probably built this residence circa 1867, near the date of his marriage to Jane McGee. Grandson of United Empire Loyalist Lieutenant Gideon Palmer (1735-1824), Hiram was a descendant of generations of militiamen, grist and sawmill operators, farmers and magistrates. However, the Palmer family was best known as shipbuilders.

The Hiram Weldon Palmer House is also recognized for its association with the shipbuilding industry. Two families dominated this industry in Dorchester, the Hickmans and the Palmers. The members of the Palmer family built their vessels at Palmer’s Pond: Gideon Palmer II (15 vessels), his son Philip Jeremiah (four vessels), his son Hiram Weldon (one vessel), his nephew Acalus (son of Philip, three vessels) and his nephew Stephen (son of Philip, three vessels).

The Hiram Weldon Palmer House is also recognized for its association with some of Dorchester’s first Acadian settlers. Within the limits of the present day Village of Dorchester, Pierre Blanchard, Joseph Richard (dit Beaupré) and their families are believed to have been present circa 1742 at a point near the marsh that includes present day Water Street.

The Hiram Weldon Palmer House is also recognized for its architecture. With its steep hipped roof capped by a widow’s walk, bracketed eaves and tall symmetrical windows, this house has several characteristics of the Italianate residential style. This house has three fireplaces and two staircases. An interior lead lined wooden cistern in the basement collected rainwater which was pumped manually to upper floors. The widow’s walk, which originally had a cast iron railing, was accessed with a ladder through a trap door cut in the roof. The house across the street, which belonged to Hiram’s brother Marcus Barlow, also has a widow’s watch. The dining room with plaster crown mouldings, a rosette and tin ceiling appears to have a different framing and could be a later addition.

Source: Dorchester Village Office, Local Historic Places file #4.1

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Hiram Weldon Palmer House include:
- two-storey rectangular house with a hipped roof;
- widow’s walk with trap door access;
- wide eaves with brackets;
- semi-enclosed veranda with brackets under the eaves;
- original solid-core wood doors, including French doors with rounded corners;
- plaster ceiling crown moulding and rosettes in dining room;
- wood paneling in the hallway;
- original staircase and newel post;
- second staircase;
- three fireplaces;
- original pine wood floors;
- original window and door frames;
- a plaster arch in the hallway.



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
Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation

Function - Category and Type



Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer

Hiram Weldon Palmer



Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Village of Dorchester, 4984 Main Street, Dorchester, NB, E4K 2Z1, Local Historic Places File # 4.1

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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