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Devon Place Registered Heritage Structure

Devon Place, St. John's, NL.
Devon Place, St. John's, NL

Statement of Significance

Formal Recognition Type

Registered Heritage Structure

Description of Historic Place

Devon Place is a wood and nogging, two and one half story hip roofed house located on 3 Forest Road, St. John’s, NL. This example of Classic Revival design was built between 1843-1849, making it one of the older homes in St. John’s. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

Devon Place has been designated a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador because of its aesthetic, historical and cultural value.

Devon Place has aesthetic value as it one of the finest domestic examples of Classical design in Newfoundland and Labrador. At the time of its construction this house would have been among the most magnificent in St. John’s. Even with the presence of numerous Classical design elements, Devon Place exudes an aura of elegance and refined simplicity, as its decorative facade is essentially regular and symmetrical. Devon Place also stands as a testament to the skill, craftsmanship and creativity of the city’s builders and tradesmen.

Devon Place has historical value because of its age and association with several individuals who played key roles in the political, economic and social evolution of Newfoundland and Labrador. In 1843, merchant and politician William Thomas acquired a grant for a piece of land between Forest Road and King’s Bridge Road. By 1849, Noad’s map of St. John’s shows a home on this plot. Devon Place is therefore one of the older original buildings in this area to have survived the great city fires of the nineteenth century. Also of historical note is the changing ownership of Devon Place by several influential residents of St. John’s. These men would help shape the political, economic and social development of both the city and the colony; for example, William P. Thomas, merchant and politician, James Murray, merchant, Robert J. Pinsent, Supreme Court Judge, Charles Bowring, merchant, Harry Duff Reid, Reid Newfoundland Company, Dr. Charles Howlett, dentist and mayor of St. John's, and Dr. Charles Hutton, Chief Medical Examiner for the province.

Devon Place has cultural value as it stands as a physical reminder of an earlier time and place. The area of St. John’s in which Devon Place is located was developed in the early nineteenth century by the upper class, whose wealth was evidenced in the stately residences they had constructed away from the congestion of the downtown core. The original homes in the historic Forest Road area speak to the prosperity of the business and merchant elite in this small colony.

Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador property file “St. John's - Devon Place - FPT 1477"

Character Defining Elements

All those original, exterior elements that embody the Classical Revival style of architecture, including:
-number of storeys;
-hip roof;
-entablature on eave;
-pediment on left gable end;
-placement and style of pedimented dormers;
-dormer window size, style, trim and placement;
-narrow clapboard;
-engaged columns on corners with carved Corinthian capitals;
-window size, style, trim and placement;
-size, style, trim and placement of bays on front and side facade;
-size, style, trim and placement of windows in front bays;
-engaged columns on front bay windows;
-entablature and decorative frieze with triglyphs on front bay windows;
-size, style, trim and placement of doors on side bays;
-size, style, trim and placement of windows in side bays;
-cut and leaded glass in side bays;
-moulded lintels on upper windows on left gable end;
-size, style, trim and placement of exterior doors;
-location of porch on front facade;
-fluted columns on front porch;
-entablature and decorative frieze with triglyphs on front porch;
-chimney style and placement;
-dimension, location and orientation of building; and
-interior detailing which is original to the structure.

Location and History

Community St. John's
Municipality City of St. John's
Civic Address 003 Forest Road
Construction (circa) 1843 - 1849
Style Classical Revival
Building Plan Square