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Rorke's Stone Jug Registered Heritage Structure

Rorke's Stone Jug, Carbonear, NL
Rorke's Stone Jug, Carbonear, NL
Rorke's Stone Jug, Carbonear, NL

Statement of Significance

Formal Recognition Type

Registered Heritage Structure

Description of Historic Place

Rorke’s Stone Jug is a Georgian style, rubble stone, two-and-a-half storey building located on Water Street in Carbonear, NL. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

Rorke’s Stone Jug was designated a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1985 because of its aesthetic and historic value.

Rorke’s Stone Jug has aesthetic value because it is an excellent example of a 19th century mercantile premises. It is particularly notable because it is built entirely of stone. Construction started in 1860 and the building was a replacement for premises that had been lost in 1859 to a massive fire that destroyed much of Carbonear. Rorke's Stone Jug is a large Georgian style building. It stands two-and-a-half storeys and is made entirely of stone cut on Kelly’s Island in Conception Bay. The building also has a steeply pitched roof with peaked dormers and a storefront ground floor with large showcase windows. This floor was used for mercantile operations, while the upper floors were used as the Rorke family living quarters.

Rorke’s Stone Jug has further aesthetic value due to its environmental setting. One of the few old stone buildings still standing in Newfoundland, and the only one in Carbonear, it is a landmark building in the community. It is located in a heritage district within Carbonear, and is directly across the street from the Rorke Premises, another Registered Heritage Structure.

Rorke’s Stone Jug has historic value because of its association with John Rorke, who owned one of the most successful business firms in Newfoundland in the 19th century. Born in Ireland in 1807, he came to Newfoundland at age 17 to work as a clerk for a local firm run by his uncle. By age 23 he started his own business and married Mary Tocque, daughter of another prominent local merchant. He was heavily involved in the Labrador “stationer” fishery and dealt in the fishery, sealing, ship building and mercantile businesses - along with international commercial trade with the West Indies and other foreign ports. John Rorke was influential in getting the railway constructed between St. John’s and Hall’s Bay. Rorke represented the District of Carbonear in the House of Assembly for 20 years, and in 1879 became a member of the Executive Council. On his retirement he had the title "Honourable" conferred upon him by Queen Victoria. John Rorke died in 1896 and the business passed to his sons. The Rorke firm continued to be run by various members of the family until the 1970s, when it finally closed after 140 years.

Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador property file “Carbonear - Rorke's Stone Jug – FPT 1507”

Character Defining Elements

All those architectural features that speak to the age and construction of the building in the Georgian style, including:
-rubble stone construction;
-two-and-a-half storey building;
-steeply pitched roof;
-second floor divided into 8 bays;
-6/6 windows;
-peaked dormers with 6/6 windows;
-storefront facade;
-large showcase windows on ground floor;
-gable end chimneys; and
-building height, dimensions, and massing.

All those features which speak to the building's landmark character in the community, including:
-location on the main street close to the waterfront; and
-proximity to Rorke Premises across the street.

Location and History

Community Carbonear
Municipality Town of Carbonear
Civic Address 232 Water Street
Construction 1860 - 1860
Style Georgian
Building Plan Rectangular Long Façade
Website Link