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O'Reilly House Registered Heritage Structure

O'Reilly House, Placentia, NL
O'Reilly House, Placentia, NL
O'Reilly House, Placentia, NL

Statement of Significance

Formal Recognition Type

Registered Heritage Structure

Description of Historic Place

O’Reilly House is a two storey, wooden, Victorian Bracketed house located at 48 Orcan Drive in Placentia, NL. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

O’Reilly House was designated a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1999 due to its aesthetic and historic value.

O’Reilly House has aesthetic value because it is a good example of a merchant house constructed in the Victorian Bracketed style. The house has many decorative details that make it stand out as the upper class residence of Placentia magistrates. Features such as the large, two-storey bay window, dentil mouldings, eave brackets, coloured glass windows and the entablature above the front door attest to the significance of the resident magistrate. Very fine, handcrafted details such as the mouldings and staircase may be seen inside the house. The O’Reilly House received the Southcott Award in 1989 in recognition of the preservation of the house.

O’Reilly House has historic value because it was occupied by Placentia magistrates from 1902 to the 1970s. Original owner William O’Reilly was given the post of magistrate in 1897 and held it until 1923. It was Magistrate O’Reilly who oversaw the construction of the present courthouse in Placentia. The O’Reilly House was the centre of many formal government, religious and royal events - as the magistrate was expected to entertain and host important visitors. Another noteworthy magistrate to have lived in the house was William Linegar, who was the magistrate in Placentia from 1939 to 1972. Linegar was the first Placentia magistrate who was a lawyer and he served as magistrate through many important political and social changes - including the Commission of Government era, the establishment of a large American military presence in nearby Argentia and Newfoundland joining the Canadian confederation. Upon his retirement, Magistrate Linegar asked to stay in residence at O’Reilly House, and stayed there until his death.

Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador property file “Placentia - O'Reilly House - FPT 1598”

Character Defining Elements

All those elements that define the building's Victorian Bracketed design including:
- flat roof;
- chimney style and placement;
- two storey height;
- eave brackets;
- dentil mouldings;
- narrow wooden clapboard;
- wooden corner boards;
- window size, style, trim and placement;
- two storey bay window accentuated with paneling and a central peak;
- coloured glass windows;
- size, style, trim and placement of exterior doors;
- bracketed entablature over main door;
- recessed door on main façade featuring a panel and glass door, panel details on sides and a transom window;
- balustrade above main door;
- original interior features, and;
- dimension, location and orientation of building.

Location and History

Community Placentia
Municipality Town of Placentia
Civic Address 048 Orcan Drive
Construction 1902 - 1902
W.J. Ellis
Style Victorian Bracketed
Building Plan Rectangular Short Façade
Website Link