The Stone House is a two-and-one-half storey, stone, former residence building located at 8 Kenna’s Hill, St. John’s, NL. The structure is situated on land that was once considered the outskirts of town, on a winding, hilly road. The municipal 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
The Stone House has been designated a Municipal Heritage Building for its aesthetic and historical values. The Stone House is aesthetically valuable because it is, for Newfoundland, a unique example of a gambrel-roofed masonry house – a form which might have been more common in the 18th and 19th centuries, but this is the sole surviving example. Built in 1834 by original owner Patrick Kough, the Stone House is two-and-one-half stories in height. It has undergone several alterations to accommodate the various families who have lived there, one of which had 22 children. At some later point the roof of the linhay was raised to produce additional space at the rear of the structure. The glass enclosed space on the main facade, added in 1986, obscures, but has not altered the original main entrance within its walls. All the window openings, with the exception of those in the dormer, and many of the six-over-six and twelve-paned windows, are original in the house. And many multi-paned windows are very early. There were originally three separate dormer windows under shed roofs. At some point, likely in the twentieth century, they were made into a single dormer under a continuous roof and later were replaced with modern windows of a smaller form than the original. The house is constructed of brick and stone, the front is of cut stone. Each new addition to the house has been constructed in wood so that the original stone structure remains visible. The Stone House is historically valuable because of its association with Patrick Kough, who was the builder and original owner. Kough, who came to St. John’s from Wexford, Ireland about 1804, was a building contractor noted for his skill and honesty; was the first Superintendent of Public Buildings (a post he held until his death in 1863 and in which he oversaw the construction of many of the principal buildings in St. John’s); and was one of the members of the first House of Assembly. He was responsible for the construction of Harbour Grace Court House, St. Thomas’ Church and the Colonial Building. He served as a Member of the House of Assembly (MHA) for St. John’s in 1834, the same time that the Stone House was built, and was appointed to the Legislative Council in 1861. Keough’s descendants occupied the house until 1911 and it was then owned by the Conway family until 1969. The Conways were a noted family in the building trade whose craft was plasterwork. Source: City of St. John’s Council meeting held April 10, 1984
Character Defining Elements
All those elements that reflect the original, vernacular architectural style of the house, executed in stone, including: -stone and brick construction; -existing roofline; -any original door openings; -any original/ very early remaining windows – 12 pane, 2/2, 6/6, 8/8, oriel window, etc.; -all window openings and sashes; -shed-roofed dormer; -any remaining original interior floors and panelling; -wooden additions; -location and orientation and massing; -massing of the building.
Stone was rarely used for construction in St. John’s at this time except for a few buildings in the downtown. There were three houses built by Irish stonemansons on the outskirts of St. John’s: Micheal Dea’s house on Freshwater Road, Eagan’s on Kenmount Road and Kough’s on Kenna’s Hill. Of these only Kough’s remains. Because of the number and variety of changes made to the exterior façade, reference to historic images is particularly crucial for determining the original design elements. A photograph (c. 1885) shows a gambrel roof at the front with a sloped linhay at the rear. This gives the house something of a saltbox profile. Whether or not this was the original roofline has not been satisfactorily determined, as Rev. William Grey’s sketch of 1857, and an illustration in the Canadian Illustrated News of 1872 suggest that it was originally a saltbox – a gable roof with a rear linhay. A change from gable to gambrel would have required additional masonry in the gable end of the building, but no such change is readily visible. A small oriel window is located in the left gable end of the structure. The large dormer contains three separate windows. This building is featured in the Newfoundland Historic Trust’s book, A Gift of Heritage, and is called Patrick Kough Stone Cottage.
Location and History
City of St. John's
008 Kenna's Hill
1834 - 1835
Rectangular Long Façade