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Dwyer House Registered Heritage Structure

Dwyer House in Tilting, Fogo Island

Statement of Significance

Formal Recognition Type

Registered Heritage Structure

Description of Historic Place

The Dwyer House is a wooden two storey structure with a steep gable roof. Located in Tilting, Fogo Island, NL, it was constructed between 1887-1890. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Dwyer House has been designated a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador because of its aesthetic, historical and cultural value.

The Dwyer House has aesthetic value due to its design and environmental setting. Stylistically, the house is a good representative example of one type of dwelling owned by outport fishermen in the Notre Dame Bay region in the late 1800s. The design features a symmetrical three bay facade, steep gable roof placed over two storeys and a one storey porch on the rear facade. Adding to its aesthetic value is the placement of the house within the community. It is located on a peninsula in the centre of the community of Tilting, is orientated toward the water following traditional practice and is visible from all areas of the settlement. As such, it is an important component of the built landscape in a community noted for the continuance and prominence of traditional housing styles.

The Dwyer House has historic value both for its age and its association with seasonal settlement patterns on the northeast coast of the island of Newfoundland. Oral tradition has it that the house was built in 1888 by Gerald Dwyer, a second generation Irish immigrant known locally as a good carpenter and furniture maker. The community of Tilting was founded by Irish immigrants who carved out a unique way of life in an often harsh environment. For generations this way of life included a seasonal settlement pattern. During the summer months residents of Tilting exploited the rich fishing grounds and raised crops for winter use. Many though, including the Dwyer family, would winter in other settlements, often to take advantage of seasonal employment opportunities. The Dwyer House serves as a physical reminder of this seasonal settlement pattern and the types of homes designed by the descendants early settlers to the region.

The Dwyer House has cultural value as it evokes a certain sense of time and place. It stands as a physical and visual reminder of early settlement patterns on the northeast coast, particularly the practice of seasonal settlement that was followed by settlers and their descendants. It also represents a time when fishermen’s houses had similar status within a community. In outport Newfoundland during this period, most fishing families built modest homes that were within the means of their similarly modest income. There was great uniformity in house design, a physical symbol of the homogeneity of residents in these communities.

Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador property file “Tilting - Dwyer House – FPT 1673”

Character Defining Elements

All those features that speak to the age, construction and outport Newfoundland vernacular design of the building, including:
-number of storeys;
-steep gable roof;
-wooden roof shingles;
-kicked eaves;
-narrow clapboard;
-corner boards;
-window size, simplicity of style, trim and placement;
-size, style, trim and placement of exterior doors;
-chimney style and placement;
-main entrance on centre front facade;
-size, style and location of porch on rear facade; and,
-dimension, location and orientation of building.

Location and History

Community Tilting
Municipality Town of Fogo Island
Civic Address Main Street
Construction (circa) 1887 - 1890
Builder
Gerald Dwyer
Style 19th Century Vernacular
Building Plan Rectangular Long Façade