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William and Cecilia O'Neill Property Registered Heritage Structure

William and Cecilia O'Neill Property, Conche, NL
William and Cecilia O'Neill Property, Conche, NL

Statement of Significance

Formal Recognition Type

Registered Heritage Structure

Description of Historic Place

The William and Cecilia O'Neill Property is a vertical studded, one-and-a-half storey house clustered near a fisheries store and stable. The buildings are located on Harbour Drive in Conche, NL. The designation is confined to the footprint of the house, the stable and the shed.

Heritage Value

The William and Cecilia O'Neill Property was designated a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2001 due to its historic, cultural and aesthetic value.

The William and Cecilia O'Neill Property has historic value because it is associated with the history of this part of the French Treaty Shore, from occupation by French migratory fishers to the arrival of the Irish settlers. The community was established as a French migratory fishing station after the 17th century. It was a major site of the French Shore fishing activities until 1904, when the French relinquished their treaty rights. Just prior to this the settlement of Irish immigrants was prevalent in Conche. The O’Neill family have direct Irish links and Henry O’Neill, the house builder’s grandfather, was Irish-born. His marriage to a Casey daughter gained him what became the O’Neill Property and the nearby Casey Store is another designated heritage structure.

The William and Cecilia O'Neill Property has cultural value because the house is one of the only remaining older buildings in Conche which still retains its associated outbuildings, namely a stable and store. The property is a rare example of the typical late 19th and early 20th century Irish-Newfoundland family residence in Conche, a long standing and major centre of the French migratory fishery. The integration of work and family life are evident in the layout of the buildings and the uses to which they were put.

The William and Cecilia O'Neill Property has aesthetic value due to its environmental setting. It abuts the salt water in a sheltered cove, on fairly level land. It is bounded roughly by natural features of the landscape and is a testament to the rigors and harsh conditions early settlers would have lived in. Traditional footpaths are still evident on the site and the use of natural features, such as the nearby brook and well, are visible and still being used.

Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador property file “Conche - William and Cecilia O'Neill Property – FPT 1849”

Character Defining Elements

All those features which reflect the setting and simple vernacular design of the house and associated outbuildings, including:
-use of traditional materials;
-wooden doors and simple trim;
-wooden windows and simple trim;
-narrow clapboard;
-existing roof styles and pitches;
-building heights, massing, and dimensions;
-use of red ochre colour on the outbuildings;
-relationship to each other and proximity to the water; and,
-viewscape and visibility of the structures from the water.

Location and History

Community Conche
Municipality Town of Conche
Civic Address 189 Harbour Drive
Construction 1907 - 1909
Architect
William O'Neill
Builder
William O'Neill
Style 20th Century Vernacular
Building Plan Rectangular Long Façade