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William Alexander House (Bridge House) Registered Heritage Structure

William Alexander House, Bonavista, NL
William Alexander House, Bonavista, NL
William Alexander House, Bonavista, NL

Statement of Significance

Formal Recognition Type

Registered Heritage Structure

Description of Historic Place

William Alexander House (also known as Bridge House) is a two-and-a-half storey wooden framed building, designed in the Georgian style by Alexander Strathie. William Alexander House is located in Bonavista, NL. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

William Alexander House was designated a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1986 due to its historic and aesthetic value.

William Alexander House has historic value due to its age and its association with William Alexander. William Alexander House was built between 1811 and 1814 and is the oldest residential structure in Newfoundland that has been assigned a date. In the early 19th century, William Alexander, a prominent Scottish merchant planter made his home in the flourishing fishing community of Bonavista. During his time in Bonavista he formed the firm of Alexander and Co. and contributed a great deal to the community of Bonavista. One of his most famous contributions was the funding of the Alexander Chapel of All Souls Mortuary Chapel.

William Alexander House Has aesthetic value for its uniqueness in the community of Bonavista. A two-and-a-half storey, Georgian style house with a central hall plan, William Alexander House is the only house of this style in Bonavista. The house features a highly symmetrical, 3 bay front façade capped by peaked dormers on a steep gable roof with end chimneys. This house is the earliest house in Bonavista and defined the architectural character of the community.

William Alexander House also has aesthetic value for its association with Alexander Strathie. In 1811, William Alexander commissioned his fellow Scottish countryman, builder and architect, Alexander Strathie to build him a house in Bonavista. Strathie came to Newfoundland from Renfrew, Scotland in 1811 and began construction on William Alexander House. It was the first building that Strathie built in Bonavista, but it would not be his last. Strathie stayed in Newfoundland after building William Alexander House and his architectural legacy continued through the generations to his son Ronald Strathie and others. Strathie constructed many more buildings in Bonavista including a home for his family which eventually became known as “Renfrew Castle.”

William Alexander House as further aesthetic value due to its location in Bonavista. Alexander House is prominently located on the harbour front in Bonavista and this location stands as a testament to the affluence and influence of William Alexander in the community of Bonavista.

Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador property file “Bonavista - William Alexander House (Bridge House) – FPT 182”

Character Defining Elements

All architectural features representative of the Georgian style, including:
-3 bay façade;
-peaked dormers;
-end chimneys;
-central hall plan;
-wooden construction;
-steep gable roof;
-window position, and;
-location in Bonavista.

Notes of Interest

This building was listed on Heritage Canada's Top Ten List of Endangered Historic Places in 2008.

Location and History

Community Bonavista
Municipality Town of Bonavista
Civic Address 001 Alexander Road
Construction (circa) 1811 - 1814
Alexander Strathie
Style Georgian
Building Plan Rectangular Long Façade
Website Link