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St. Joseph's Chapel Registered Heritage Structure

St. Joseph's Chapel, Blackhead, St. John's, NL
St. Joseph's Chapel, Blackhead, St. John's, NL
St. Joseph's Chapel, Blackhead, St. John's, NL

Statement of Significance

Formal Recognition Type

Registered Heritage Structure

Description of Historic Place

St. Joseph’s Chapel is a tiny wooden one-room school house located in Blackhead, on the outskirts of St. John’s, NL. St. Joseph’s Chapel was built as a school in 1879 but soon had a dual-function as a school and church for the Roman Catholic community of Blackhead. Designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

St. Joseph’s Chapel was designated a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2000 due to its aesthetic and historic value.

St. Joseph’s Chapel has historic value due to its contribution to the development of the community of Blackhead. St. Joseph’s Chapel played a pivotal role in the social and cultural development of Blackhead in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. St. Joseph’s Chapel was built as a school in 1879, but soon after it also began to be used as a church when the adjacent stone church fell into disrepair. The Chapel served as a school from 1879 until 1965 and during this time it served as the platform for the education and cultural advancement of the community. As a church, the Chapel served as the religious centre of the Roman Catholic community in Blackhead. The building was also used for concerts and music lessons while the grounds were used to host garden parties.

St. Joseph’s Chapel has aesthetic value as a rare example of a small wooden schoolhouse in such close proximity to St. John’s. The simple design of the chapel speaks to a particular time and place. Blackhead was a tiny fishing community and St. Joseph’s Chapel was designed in a utilitarian manner. This plain, wooden, square one-room school with a steeply pitched gable roof stands as a testament to a more simple way of life, common in rural Newfoundland during this period.

Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador property file “St. John's - St. Joseph's Chapel - FPT 1648”

Character Defining Elements

All those features that relate to the vernacular design of the building as a small outport chapel/schoolhouse, including:
-square floor plan;
-steep gable roof;
-wooden construction;
-window style and placement;
-narrow clapboard sheathing;
-door and window trim;
-corner boards;
-returned eaves on porch; and,
-building size, massing, dimensions and height.

Location and History

Community St. John's (Blackhead)
Municipality City of St. John's
Civic Address 008 Blackhead Village Road, Blackhead
Significant 1879 - 1879
Style 19th Century Vernacular
Building Plan Square
Website Link