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The Lea Registered Heritage Structure

The Lea, St. John's, NL
The Lea, St. John's, NL
The Lea, St. John's, NL

Statement of Significance

Formal Recognition Type

Registered Heritage Structure

Description of Historic Place

The Lea is a one-and-a-half-storey Arts and Crafts style bungalow located at 39 Topsail Road, St. John’s, NL. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Lea was designated a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1997 because of its aesthetic and historic value.

The Lea has aesthetic value as an excellent provincial example of an Arts and Crafts style bungalow. The Lea is situated in the scenic Waterford Valley, the location of many homes built for Newfoundland's upper class in the 1920s. Completed in 1921, the building boasts many of the features typical of the Arts and Crafts movement, including a low-pitched gable roof, shallow shed dormers, projecting eaves, decorative brackets, exposed beams, wooden shingle cladding and a deep, open porch supported by columns. Elements of other architectural styles are also evident in the small diamond shaped leaded-glass windows, corner bay windows and Tudor-style interior finishes.

The Lea has further aesthetic value as the work of a master architect. It was designed by William Duncan McCarter, who completed his architectural education in England before immigrating to Canada in 1915. He worked in Edmonton before moving to St. John’s in 1919. Along with designing cold storage plants for use in the fishery, he was also known for his early modernist architecture, including the former Michael's & All Angels Anglican Church, the West End Fire Station and Cornwall Theatre – all on LeMarchant Road in St. John’s. McCarter was also the first President of the Newfoundland Association of Architects.

The Lea has historic value due to its association with the Parker family. The home was built for John Parker and his wife Flora. The couple were married in England in 1920 and had contracted William McCarter to design and build the home while they were honeymooning. Parker ran “Parker and Monroe,” Newfoundland’s best-known shoe company. It was founded in 1880 by John’s father James Francis Parker and Daniel Monroe. Upon James’ death, John inherited all of his father’s shares in Parker and Monroe. The firm had several outlets and a shoe manufacturing plant that produced up to 100,000 pairs of shoes annually. The plant was located on Alexander Street in downtown St. John's, not too far from The Lea. The factory remained open until 1949 and the last store closed in 1988.

Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador property file “St. John's - The Lea - FPT 1654”

Character Defining Elements

All original features which relate to the age and design of the building, including:
-symmetrical facade;
-low-pitched, multi-gabled roof;
-kicked eaves on all gables;
-projecting wooden eaves;
-decorative wooden brackets at eaves;
-exposed wooden beams at eaves;
-size, style, trim and placement of shallow shed dormers;
-size, style and placement of chimneys;
-wooden shingle cladding;
-size, style, trim and placement of corner bay windows with exposed beams, wooden windows and wooden transoms;
-size, style, trim and placement of diamond shaped leaded glass wooden windows;
-horizontal wooden row windows;
-deep, open porch supported by wooden columns;
-main wooden door with leaded glass insert and sidelights;
-rounded doorways with wooden doors and wooden fanlights on main façade;
-wooden columns on main façade;
-all heavy wooden trim work on the exterior walls and around windows and doors;
-openings of original lower level garage doors marked by recessed infill;
-all interior features that reflect the age and the design of the building, and;
-dimension, location and orientation of building.

Location and History

Community St. John's
Municipality City of St. John's
Civic Address 039 Topsail Road
Construction 1920 - 1921
William Duncan McCarter
Style Arts and Crafts
Building Plan Rectangular Long Façade
Website Link