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Greenspond Courthouse Registered Heritage Structure

Greenspond Courthouse, Greenspond, NL
Greenspond Courthouse, Greenspond, NL
Greenspond Courthouse, Greenspond, NL

Statement of Significance

Formal Recognition Type

Registered Heritage Structure

Description of Historic Place

Greenspond Courthouse is a wooden two-storey courthouse built in the Second Empire Style. Designed by architect William Henry Churchill, the courthouse sits atop a hill overlooking Greenspond, NL. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

Greenspond Courthouse was designated a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1988 for its aesthetic and historic value.

Greenspond Courthouse has aesthetic value as it is a good example of an early 20th century government building in the Second Empire Style – a style that was popular for government buildings in Newfoundland during this time. The mansard roof, dormer windows and tower are particularly good indicators of the style. Greenspond Courthouse is a sturdy wooden building utilizing traditional materials and stands as a testament to the quality of both materials and craftsmanship during this time period. The layout of the interior of the courthouse is also well preserved including the courtroom and the living area on the upper floor.

Greenspond Courthouse also has aesthetic value for its association with architect William Henry Churchill. Churchill was Superintendent of Public Buildings in the early 1900s and was known for using the Second Empire style in many of his designs.

Greenspond Courthouse has further aesthetic value due to its environmental setting. Its location on a hill overlooking Greenspond Harbour reinforces the importance of the courthouse in the community. The Greenspond Courthouse is a landmark in the community, being highly visible from both land and sea.

Greenspond Courthouse has historic value due to its connection to judicial activities both in the community of Greenspond and in the greater Bonavista North area. The cornerstone was laid in 1899 and construction continued for two years. The Courthouse served as the centre of all judicial activities in the area during the early part of the 20th century. Today Greenspond Courthouse is one of a few remaining early 20th century courthouses in the province. It has served a number of functions during its history, including its use as a courthouse and as a home for the jailer and his family. Furthermore, Greenspond Courthouse also served as a morgue when there were shipwrecks.

Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador property file “Greenspond - Courthouse – FPT 1839”

Character Defining Elements

All those elements that are representative of the Second Empire style, including:
-number of storeys;
-mansard roof;
-wooden roof shingles;
-style and placement of chimneys;
-eave brackets;
-tower topped with a dome and cresting;
-pediments above second storey windows in tower;
-narrow wooden clapboard;
-corner boards;
-placement and style of pedimented dormers;
-size, style, trim and placement of dormer windows;
-window size, style, trim and placement;
-size, style, trim and placement of exterior doors;
-interior fixtures including period doors, staircases, wainscoting, mantels and trim work;
-building size, massing, height and dimensions, and;
-location, orientation and visibility of building.

All those interior features related to the building's historic use as a courthouse and jailer's residence, including:
-layout of the interior of the courthouse and ceiling heights;
-courtroom area and period fixtures including bench, bar and witness box;
-original living area on the upper floor, and;
-original jail fixtures, doors and hardware.

Location and History

Community Greenspond
Municipality Town of Greenspond
Significant 1899 - 1901
William Henry Churchill
Style Second Empire
Building Plan Rectangular Long Façade