Home / Accueil

Western Union Cable Building

Bay Roberts, Newfoundland and Labrador, A0A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1998/10/28

Exterior photo, main facade, of the Western Union Cable Building, Bay Roberts.; Town of Bay Roberts, 2004
Western Union Cable Building, Bay Roberts.
No Image
No Image

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2004/12/20

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Built by Western Union Cable Company in 1913, the Bay Roberts Cable Station is a two storey, hip roofed, brick building that employs a variety of Classical Revival elements. The Cable Station is located on Water Street in Bay Roberts. This designation is restricted to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Bay Roberts Cable Station has been designated as a Registered Heritage Structure due to its historic associations, architectural value, environmental and cultural value:

Historical Association:

The Bay Roberts Cable Station is historically valuable due to its association with the Western Union Cable Company. The Western Union Cable Company had an important influence on the Bay Roberts area, creating employment and later becoming involved in community service, sports and the arts in Bay Roberts. The Cable Station was built in 1913 as a cable relay station for telegraph cables between Sennen Cove, Cornwall, England and Coney Island, New York, USA. During World War II, 75% of all trans-Atlantic cable messages went through the Bay Roberts Cable Station. Furthermore, the Cable Station was heavily guarded during this period not only because it held an important communication link between the UK and the US, but also because it housed a direct line between Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Architectural Value:

The Bay Roberts Cable Station provides a good example of an early 20th century commercial building with Classical Revival elements. The interior rectangular layout of the building is symmetrical, reflecting Classical motifs. The exterior of the building employs a number of Classical elements including a triangular pediment over the main door and the symmetrical 7 bay structure on all facades of the building. The exterior brick of the building was imported from England which is indicative of the affluence of the Western Union Cable Company. The transom window over the main door is typical of commercial buildings of this era. Other architectural features of the Cable Station that contribute to the heritage value of the building include the dormer windows and the vaulted poured concrete roof of the building

Environmental Value:

The Cable Station was built near the water to meet the cable that was laid both to Cornwall and New York. After building the Cable Station, Western Union built residences for the employees near the Cable Station including a new street complete with sidewalks, street lights and chestnut trees. The close proximity of the Bay Roberts Cable Station to the staff residences reflects the important influence the Western Union Cable Company had on the community of Bay Roberts.

Cultural Value:

The Bay Roberts Cable Station is culturally valuable because it represents a period of early technological advancements in telecommunications. Beyond its technological contributions, the Western Union Cable Company played a significant social and economic role in the community of Bay Roberts.

Source: HFNL unnumbered designation file "Bay Roberts - Cable Station" 1 Springdale Street, St. John's, NL A1C 5V5.

Character-Defining Elements

All exterior elements that are representative of the Classical Revival style including:
- the pediment, entablature, window position etc.

All those original exterior elements including:
-transom window over main door;
-poured concrete hipped roof and two storey height of building;
-single hung 1/1 windows;
-brick size, shape and style;
-running bond on upper storey brick;
-english bond on lower storey brick;
-voussoirs brickwork around windows and details;
-semi-circular dormer windows; and,
-two storey height and form of the building, including the hipped roof.

All those environmental elements including:
- location of building near water; and,
- location near former employee residences on Cable Avenue.



Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Authority

Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Statute

Historic Resources Act

Recognition Type

Registered Heritage Structure

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Developing Economies
Communications and Transportation

Function - Category and Type



Communications Facility

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador Newman Building, 1 Springdale Street, St. John’s, NL

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




Related Places



Advanced SearchAdvanced Search
Nearby Places