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Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Lester-Garland Premises is a large, gambrel roofed, duplex mercantile building which overlooks Trinity Harbour in the community of Trinity, Trinity Bay. The designation encompasses the entire property including the land, mercantile premises and any remaining ruins of associated buildings.
The Lester-Garland Premises has been designated a Provincial Historic Site because it has historic and aesthetic values.
The Lester-Garland Premises is historically valuable because of its associations with Benjamin Lester and George Garland. This building is the last remaining of Benjamin Lester and Company in Trinity, having been the largest British firm involved in the Newfoundland Trade in the 18th century. English born Lester came to Newfoundland in 1737 at the age of 13 to work for his uncle, John Masters, a merchant. Throughout his long and industrious career as a merchant, politician and trader Lester kept a meticulous diary, which has provided a wealth of information on daily details of his Newfoundland trade as well as on social and economic activities during that time. From the 1780s until his death Lester was the wealthiest and most influential merchant in the English-Newfoundland trade.
George Garland was the son-in-law of Benjamin Lester, having married his daughter Amy Lester. On Lester's death in 1802 George Garland gained control of what was probably the largest and certainly one of the most important firms in Newfoundland at that time. Garland was able to use this inheritance and his own abilities to multiply the Lester fortune several times in the following decades. In 1819 the firm became known as George Garland and Sons. The property was identified as the Garland Plantation through the 19th century and in 1906 it was bought by the Ryan brothers of Bonavista and was operated as Ryan's until 1952.
The Lester-Garland Premises is aesthetically valuable because it is a good surviving example of eighteenth and nineteenth century outport mercantile construction. The Lester-Garland Premises was constructed in two phases - the counting house was built first in the late eighteenth or very early nineteenth century and the shop was added in 1833. This building is a large, three storey, gambrel roofed duplex comprised of a shop and counting house. There are two chimneys located near the gable ends, situated above the ridge. There are few windows in this building, except for those high on the third floor, and along the front of the building. Two large storefront windows are located on the shop side of the duplex and a smaller window is located on the counting house side; all three have small raincaps and plain trim. Both sides have wooden panelled doors with transoms. This building is sheathed in narrow wooden clapboard and has wide corner boards and plain wide trim around the windows and doors.
Source: Newfoundland Gazette, Friday, March 30, 1979, Newfoundland Regulation 55/79.
All those elements that define the nineteenth century vernacular duplex construction, including:
-narrow wooden clapboard;
-wide corner boards;
-large storefront windows of shop;
-smaller window of counting house;
-wooden doors with transoms;
-all window and door openings;
-window fenestration, sizes and shapes;
-orientation towards the harbour;
-general massing and number of storeys;
-location and dimensions.
Newfoundland and Labrador
Province of Newfoundland and Labrador
Historic Resources Act
Provincial Historic Site
1833/01/01 to 1833/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Trade and Commerce
Function - Category and Type
- Historic or Interpretive Site
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, 1 Springdale Street, P.O. Box 5171, St. John's, NL, A1C 5V5
Cross-Reference to Collection