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Corner Brook Public Building Registered Heritage Structure

Corner Brook Public Building, Corner Brook, NL
Corner Brook Public Building, Corner Brook, NL

Statement of Significance

Formal Recognition Type

Registered Heritage Structure

Description of Historic Place

The Corner Brook Public Building is a neo-classical concrete structure located at 2 West Street, Corner Brook, NL. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Corner Brook Public Building was designated a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2001 due to its aesthetic, historic and cultural value.

The Corner Brook Public Building has aesthetic value because it is a fine example of neo-classical, 1920s architecture. Situated in downtown Corner Brook the Public Building is a large, 3 storey government structure featuring strong, crisp lines formed by poured, reinforced concrete. The pilasters, moulded frieze and projecting architrave all suggest classic revival details. The art nouveau cresting over the main entrance is balanced by a cast concrete coat of arms. It features many fine interior details of high quality, including solid birch and oak doors and Quebec imported Missisquoi marble. This building is the only one of its kind in the region. Constructed by accomplished architect J. Melville Miller and builder William J. Bishop Limited, the building features interior and exterior qualities that suggest the importance of the business carried on within the walls.

The Corner Brook Public Building has historic value for several reasons. It was constructed as a government building for the Dominion of Newfoundland. Holding the first customs house, courthouse and post office for the area the building represents a period of history when Newfoundland governed itself from this very building.

The Corner Brook Public Building has further historic value because it was built under a cloud of controversy. There was great debate over the proposed site of the building, and because the building was late in being completed, as well as going over budget, the builder lost the contractors fee.

The Corner Brook Public Building has cultural value because it has housed many businesses since its construction and remains important to the community because it now holds the Corner Brook Museum and Archives. It was also featured as the site of a jail in Canadian actor Gordon Pinsent’s film The Rowdyman (1972).

Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador property file “Corner Brook - Corner Brook Public Building - FPT 1844”

Character Defining Elements

All elements that define the building's Neo-classical design including:
-exterior decoration including cornice mouldings, pilasters, moulded frieze and fretwork;
-original interior features including: solid wood doors, faux stonework, marble pilasters and stairs, brass hardware and wooden skylight; and,
-orientation, location and dimensions.

Location and History

Community Corner Brook
Municipality City of Corner Brook
Civic Address 002 West Street
Significant 1925 - 1926
J. Melville Miller
William J. Bishop Ltd.
Style Classical Revival
Building Plan Square
Website Link