The Anglo American Telegraph Building is a two storey, wooden building with a mid-twentieth century wartime addition located at 2 Riverside Drive in Placentia, NL. Built around 1876, the location provided transatlantic communications support for approximately sixty years. The designation encompasses the entire property surrounded by a fence.
Statement of Significance
Formal Recognition Type
Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land
The Anglo American Telegraph Building has been designated a municipal heritage site by the Town of Placentia due to its historic and aesthetic value.
The Anglo American Telegraph Building has historic value because of the role it played in transatlantic communications between Europe and North America. Built on 134 acres of land deeded by King William IV to Irishman Roger Sweetman in 1836, this building was a vital link between the Hearts Content Cable station and Nova Scotia. In 1876 Sweetman’s widow, Honora, sold the residence that her husband built to the Anglo American Telegraph Co. Ltd. After the successful transatlantic cable laying from Europe to Heart’s Content, NL, more cables were laid to St. Pierre, Nova Scotia and subsequently USA. The Placentia cable office served as a repeating station for duplex circuits and relaying messages between Europe and North America. The Sweetman residence was home to the cable office until 1938 when it was sold to a private individual.
The Anglo American Telegraph Building has aesthetic value as it is reminiscent of the simple style and design often employed in the construction of company owned structures in outport Newfoundland. A 1940s addition also serves as a representative example of the tradition of remodelling homes to meet the evolving needs of residents. The expansion of this particular space proved beneficial as it provided supplemental income. During the 1940s and 1950s, the “Argentia Wing” was used for a period to house American servicemen and their families who were waiting for housing on the American military base in Argentia. The space was later converted into a convenience store.
Source: Town of Placentia council meeting August 19, 2006.
Character Defining Elements
All those exterior features that reflect the outport, vernacular style of the company building including:
-main roof with very low peak;
-shed roof on porch and addition;
-number of storeys;
-narrow wooden clapboard;
-window size, style, trim and placement;
-size, style, trim and placement of exterior doors;
-size, style and placement of porch on left front facade;
-size, style and placement of one storey addition on right front facade, and;
-dimensions, location and orientation of building.
All those original interior features that reflect the use of the building as a cable station, including;
– desk, wicket, counter and remains of cables.
Location and History
Town of Placentia
002 Riverside Drive
1876 - 1876
Anglo American Telegraph Company Ltd.
Rectangular Long Façade