The Chief Operator’s House is a two storey, biscuit box style house located at 1600 Conception Bay Highway, Seal Cove, Conception Bay South, NL. The house has a plain, unadorned exterior and it sits directly on the main road, surrounded by mature trees, and in close proximity to the old United Towns Electric Company hydro generating station and flume. The designation is confined to the footprint of the house.
Statement of Significance
Formal Recognition Type
Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land
The Chief Operator’s House has been designated a municipal heritage site by the Town of Conception Bay South due to its historic and aesthetic values. The Chief Operator’s House has historic value because it was an integral part of an electrical development project, undertaken by the United Towns Electric Company (UTE) in 1923. Located in the tiny community of Seal Cove the Chief Operator’s House was a marvel of its time equipped with both electricity and running water. Built by the UTE Co. in Seal Cove for the Chief Operator, Frank Jones held the position for 36 years. The Seal Cove plant, along with ones in Topsail, Heart’s Content and Victoria supplied the military base in Argentia with electricity in 1941. By 1954 the company grew to have assets in excess of $27,000,000 and was meeting a total annual load of 156 million KWhs. The house remains largely unchanged since its construction. The Chief Operator’s House has aesthetic value due to its environmental setting. It is situated on a lot with mature trees and a natural spring, which provides water to the home. It is also located next to the flume that was used to deliver water to a 4540hp hydro generating station owned by the UTE Co. This close proximity allowed the Chief Operator to control the regular maintenance of the flume. The turbine station was within sight of the home, thereby allowing the Chief Operator the ability to walk there and fulfil his job requirements without the need for a company car (an expensive endeavour in 1923). The Chief Operator’s House has further aesthetic value because it is a good example of a Newfoundland vernacular home. The house is a biscuit box style and has a low pitch gable roof with felt covering. The single hung windows have 6/1 panes and are surrounded by flat moulding. The main entrance is located at the front, or street-side of the house, but the primary entrance is located at the side, entering into the kitchen through a linhay (porch). Wooden clapboard and wide cornerboards add to the simplicity of the house design. This house has remained unchanged both on the exterior and interior since it was constructed in 1923, and is a testament to the craftsmanship and materials of this early company house. Source: Town of Conception Bay South Regular Council Meeting Motion #02-399 August 6, 2002.
Character Defining Elements
All those original features of the company house, including: -biscuit box style with linhay; -two storey wooden structure; -low pitch gable roof; -wooden clapboard; -wide cornerboards; -6/1 single hung windows with wide, flat moulding; -window dimensions, locations and orientations; -primary entrance at the side, opening into the linhay; -location, orientation and dimensions, general massing.
Location and History
Conception Bay South (Seal Cove)
Town of Conception Bay South
Conception Bay Highway, Seal Cove
1970 - 1970
Rectangular Short Façade