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Somerton Property Registered Heritage Structure

Somerton Property, Wabana, Bell Island

Statement of Significance

Formal Recognition Type

Registered Heritage Structure

Description of Historic Place

The Somerton Property is a two storey timber frame building located on Town Square, Wabana, Bell Island, NL. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

Somerton Property has been designated a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador because of its historical associations and cultural value.

The building is of historical importance because of its associations with the mining industry and industrial development. The population of Bell Island increased significantly over the years that the mine was in operation. From the founding of the mine in 1895 to its closure in 1966, communities on Bell Island continued to grow as industrial labour needs increased and workers migrated to the area to fulfill the demand. An island which had been sustained by fishing and farming was transformed with the influx of workers to the island, necessitating the building of such structures as the Somerton Property.

The Somerton Property has cultural value as it evokes a sense of a particular time and place. In its heyday, Bell Island could boast amenities equivalent to any large urban community, including modern shops, restaurants and theatres. As workers immigrated to Bell Island, the population became more diversified than that of other rural areas, creating a dynamic, forward looking community. The Somerton Property is a physical reminder of this progressive period in Bell Island’s history.

Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador property file “Wabana - Somerton Property - FPT 1850”

Character Defining Elements

-existing footprint of the building;
-mid pitch roof;
-number of storeys;
-location of porch on front facade;
-location of linhay (local terminology referring to an addition to the rear of a structure) on rear facade;
-narrow clapboard;
-corner boards;
-window size, style, trim and placement;
-size, style, trim and placement of exterior doors;
-chimney style and placement;
-dimension, location and orientation of building;
-original interior detailing, trim and finishes.

Location and History

Community Wabana
Municipality Town of Wabana
Civic Address Town Square, Wabana, Bell Island
Construction 1927 - 1930
Operator of iron ore mine
Style 20th Century Vernacular
Building Plan Irregular