42 Rennie’s Mill Road is situated within the Rennie’s Mill Road Federal Heritage District in St. John’s, Newfoundland. It has a steeply pitched gable roof and sits nestled among mature trees in a row of stately houses that are very close to the road. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
Statement of Significance
Formal Recognition Type
City of St. John's Heritage Building, Structure, Land or Area
42 Rennie’s Mill Road has been designated a Municipal Heritage Structure for its historic and aesthetic values. 42 Rennie’s Mill Road is historically valuable due to its associations with some of Newfoundland’s prominent citizens. This dwelling was home to John G. Higgins (1891-1963), a Rhodes Scholar and St. John’s lawyer. A World War I veteran, Higgins represented the British Admiralty and the Canadian Department of National Defense during World War II land claims. Despite his connections with Canada Higgins was a staunch opponent of Confederation and he became the first Leader of the Opposition for post-confederation Newfoundland. Higgins was also the first Progressive Conservative senator from Newfoundland, appointed by Prime Minister John Diefenbaker in 1959. 42 Rennie’s Mill Road was also home to Richard Cashin, a lawyer, politician and trade union leader. He was the founding president of the Newfoundland Fishermen, Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW). In 1989, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada. Cashin was sworn into the Queen’s Privy Council for Canada in 1992 allowing him to use the title “The Honourable”. 42 Rennie’s Mill Road is aesthetically valuable as a fine example of the Victorian Bracketed style of architecture. This is reflected in the steeply-pitched saddle roof, twin two-and-one-half-storey bow windows with peaked roof dormers and decorative brackets. Source: City of St. John’s Archives, unnumbered property file, St. John’s – 42 Rennie’s Mill Road
Character Defining Elements
All elements of the building’s Victorian Bracketed design including: -steep saddle roof; -exterior decoration; -narrow wood clapboard; -shape, size and placement of windows; -original entrance with wooden door, transom and elaborate brackets and entablature; -twin two-and-one-half storey bow windows with brackets, exposed rafters and decorative panels; -exposed carved rafters and bargeboard on the roof and eaves; and, -size and dimensions of building.
In 1915, the building was owned by the Honourable John Harris, of Hearn and Company, wholesale provisions dealers and “butterine” manufacturers. At the time, William H. Tobin, an accountant of Hearn and Company, was also renting rooms in the building.
Location and History
City of St. John's
042 Rennie's Mill Road
1888 - 1902
Rectangular Long Façade