Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
This two-storey, red-brick mill-town Italianate tenement building, situated on the east side of Downing Street, was completed in 1889. John Kelly, Saint John-based builder, constructed this brick residence for Alexander “Boss” Gibson in the area of Marysville known as Brick Hill, now part of the City of Fredericton.
The heritage value of this dwelling resides not only in its association with Alexander “Boss” Gibson and his evolving vision of a company town, but in the specific circumstances of its construction. Construction on this two-storey, four bedroom, single-family tenement house began in the spring of 1889, to be completed and ready for occupancy by the fall of that same year. It is one of more than 50 homes which Alexander “Boss” Gibson had constructed for the families of his cotton mill employees.
These brick houses, erected in close proximity to the mill, reflect the paternal model of 19th century labour relations, in which workers and management were separated not only by distance but by housing design. The simple brick Italianate tenements situated on Brick Hill, the area covered by upper Bridge Street, Downing, and Coronation streets, stand in sharp contrast to the wood frame dwellings constructed for mill managers and overseers on “Nob Hill.” The signature red-brick of these workers’ houses was manufactured locally at “Boss” Gibson’s brickyard.
For this phase of housing development, “Boss” Gibson hired John Kelly, of Saint John, to construct the brick tenements. Earlier building phases had been completed by B. Mooney & Sons, the Saint John firm responsible for constructing the cotton mill. The Brick Hill tenements are significant as they reflect the change in building contractor.
Source: City of Fredericton, Local Historic Places file, “8 Downing Street”
The character-defining elements identified for the brick tenement at 8 Downing Street include:
- symmetrical two-storey brick constructed dwelling, using locally manufactured material;
- location on Brick Hill in close proximity to the former Gibson cotton mill;
- location on a street lined with homes of the same mill-town Italianate design and construction;
- context with respect to the river, the mill and recreational facilities;
- continuous label hood moulding;
- slightly-pitched lateral gable roof with brick cornice details;
- symmetrical placement of segmented arch window openings;
- centrally placed entryway with classical details.
Local Governments (NB)
Heritage Conservation Act
Local Historic Place (municipal)
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Trade and Commerce
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
Function - Category and Type
- Multiple Dwelling
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
City of Fredericton, Local Historic Places file, "8 Downing Street"
Cross-Reference to Collection
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