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Marcus Barlow Palmer House

81 Water Street, Dorchester, New Brunswick, E4K, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2010/04/19

As seen from Water Street; Village of Dorchester
Marcus Barlow Palmer House
Image taken circa 1900; Village of Dorchester
Marcus Barlow Palmer House
Front view; Village of Dorchester
Marcus Barlow Palmer House

Other Name(s)

Marcus Barlow Palmer House
Barlow Palmer House
Maison Barlow Palmer

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2010/08/03

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Marcus Barlow Palmer House is a two-storey Second Empire house 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 Hiram Weldon and Philip Jeremiah also had residences on Water Street.

Heritage Value

The Marcus Barlow Palmer House was designated for its association with the Palmer family, for its association with some of Dorchester’s first Acadian settlers and for its architecture.

The Marcus Barlow Palmer House is recognized for its association with the Palmer family. Marcus Barlow Palmer built this residence circa 1871. Grandson of United Empire Loyalist Lieutenant Gideon Palmer (1735-1824), Marcus Barlow was a descendant of generations of militiamen, grist and sawmill operators, farmers and magistrates. However, the Palmer family was best known as shipbuilders. 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 Marcus Barlow 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 Marcus Barlow Palmer House is recognized for its architecture. This house is an example of the Second Empire style which was popular during the second half of the 19th century. The mansard roof and twoer give a distinctive character to this fine house. The house across the street, which belonged to Marcus’s brother Hiram, also has a widow’s walk. The interior retains most of the lavish interior woodwork and plaster work associated with a prosperous late-Victorian family. The interior of the tower has partially-completed mural paintings made by a member of the family of former occupants, Anthony (Ken) Goguen and Mary Hazel (White) Goguen.

Source: Dorchester Village Office, Local Historic Places file #4.2

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Marcus Barlow Palmer House include:
- symmetrical two-storey rectangular massing;
- mansard roof;
- tower with original paintings on the interior;
- original 2-over-2 windows, including original glass panes with bubbles;
- dormer windows with gable roofs;
- three-storey central frontispiece with mansard roof;
- original solid-core wood doors, including French doors with rounded corners;
- plaster ceiling crown moulding and rosettes;
- a plaster arch in the hallway;
- wood paneling;
- original staircase and newel post;
- three fireplaces;
- built-in hardwood closet;
- original pine wood floors;
- original window and door frames including frames with the builder’s initials “MBP”.



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



Marcus Barlow Palmer

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Village of Dorchester, 4984 Main St., Dorchester, NB, E4K 2Z1, Local Historic Places File # 4.2

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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