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Martin McNamara House Registered Heritage Structure

Martin McNamara House, St. John's, NL
Martin McNamara House, St. John's, NL
Martin McNamara House, St. John's, NL

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.

Heritage Value

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;
-wooden construction;
-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

Community St. John's
Municipality City of St. John's
Civic Address 015 Plank Road
Construction (circa) 1849 - 1849
Style 18th Century Vernacular
Building Plan Square