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Cable Staff House #1 Registered Heritage Structure

Cable Staff House #1, Heart's Content, NL
Cable Staff House #1, Heart's Content, NL
Cable Staff House #1, Heart's Content, NL

Statement of Significance

Formal Recognition Type

Registered Heritage Structure

Description of Historic Place

Cable Staff House #1 was built by the Anglo-American Cable Company in 1882 to accommodate employees of the cable station in Heart's Content, NL. Cable Staff House #1 is a two storey house with a mansard roof built in the Second Empire Style. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Cable Staff House #1 was designated a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1995 due to its aesthetic, historic and cultural value.

Cable Staff House #1 in Heart’s Content has aesthetic value as an excellent example of one half of a two-storey wooden and brick duplex built in the Second Empire style, along with Cable Staff House #2. While the overall style is Second Empire, there are a number of modified style elements that contribute to the aesthetic value of the structure. For instance, the windows are not consistent; there are a number of different types. Some are typical 2/2 single-hung windows, while others are multi-paned windows with only one pane that opens. The window trim on the front façade is also unusual as it is a flat hood but also has elements of an entablature. Finally, the dormer shape is a variation on the typical semicircular dormer of a Second Empire style building, employing a semi-circular design with a keystone element at the top. All of these elements are indicative of a sense of creativity on the part of the architect.

Cable Staff House #1 is also aesthetically valuable for its association with well-known architect J.T. Southcott. Southcott is most well-known in Newfoundland for introducing the Second Empire style of architecture which is often locally referred to as the Southcott style. Southcott had already designed a number of houses for the cable company when he was commissioned to design this house in 1879.

Cable Staff House #1 has further aesthetic value as a landmark in the community of Heart’s Content. Built on the highest hill its location is a testament to the influence of the Cable Company in Heart’s Content. The Cable Staff House #1 is one of the largest and most elaborate buildings in Heart’s Content, it stands in stark contrast to the typical fishermen’s houses throughout the community. This grand building stands as a physical reminder of the affluence of the Cable Company during this period.

Cable Staff House #1 has historic value for its association with the Anglo-American Cable Company. The Cable Company, formerly the New York, Newfoundland, London Company was granted a 50 year monopoly on telecommunications in Newfoundland by the government in 1854. The first cable was landed in Heart’s Content in 1866 and immediately revolutionized communication. In 1888, the company saw the need to build accommodations for the staff of the Cable Station. Cable Staff House #1 was built to serve the need for accommodations for staff members.

Cable Staff House #1 has cultural value because it represents a period of early technological advancements in telecommunications. Beyond its technological contributions, the Anglo-American Cable Company played a significant social and economic role in the community of Heart’s Content.

Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador property file “Heart's Content - Cable Staff House #1 – FPT 1565”

Character Defining Elements

All those elements that are representative of the Second Empire style as interpreted by J.T. Southcott, including:
-mansard roof, eaves brackets, dormer windows;
-window style and placement;
-dormer style; and,
-window trim.

All those features that speak to the building's environmental and landmark value, including:
-location in the community of Heart’s Content; and,
-its locations as one half of a duplex.

Location and History

Community Heart's Content
Municipality Town of Heart's Content
Civic Address Parish Hall Hill
Significant 1882 - 1888
J.T. Southcott
Style Second Empire
Building Plan Square
Website Link