Martin McNamara House Registered Heritage Structure
Statement of Significance
Formal Recognition Type
Registered Heritage Structure
Description of Historic Place
The Martin McNamara House is a simple, hipped roof wooden house located at 15 Plank Road, St. John’s, NL. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Martin McNamara House was designated a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1995 because of its aesthetic and historic value.
The McNamara House has aesthetic value as a rare example of a central chimney, wooden house located within St. John’s. Built prior to 1849 this home likely dates to the 1700s because of its style. Located in what used to be a primarily Irish immigrant neighbourhood, the house is reminiscent of very early Irish vernacular construction. The central chimney is prominent on this small, hipped roof house and was a primary heat source for 18th-19th century homes. Rooms on both sides of the house could be heated from fireplaces joined to one chimney. Other details, such as the narrow clapboard, 6/6 windows and wide corner boards give this house a classic vernacular appeal.
McNamara House has historic value because the simplicity in style reflects a time and place when St. John’s was a small fishing town. The house was constructed on Brine’s Farm, which was part of a crown land grant to James Brine, and the structure appears on Noad’s Map of 1849. Martin McNamara, a fisherman, bought the property from the Brine estate in 1857 and it is still used today as a residence. Structures like the McNamara House are rare in St. John’s, making this home historically valuable.
Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador property file “St. John's - Martin McNamara House - FPT 1495”
Character Defining Elements
All elements that are reflective of the building's early 19th century vernacular design, including:
-number of storeys;
-hipped roof with wooden shingles;
-central chimney style and placement;
-narrow wooden clapboard;
-wooden corner boards;
-6/6 wooden windows;
-size, style, trim and placement of wooden windows;
-size, style, trim and placement of exterior wooden door, and;
-dimension, location and orientation of building.
Location and History
||City of St. John's
||015 Plank Road
||1849 - 1849
||18th Century Vernacular