Frederick Mifflin House Registered Heritage Structure
Statement of Significance
Formal Recognition Type
Registered Heritage Structure
Description of Historic Place
Frederick Mifflin House is a two-and-a-half storey, gable roofed dwelling house with double front peaks. It has an attached single-storey structure that once operated as a candy store and a rear porch. It is located on Church Street, in an historic area within the town of Bonavista, NL. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
Frederick Mifflin House was designated a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2009 for its aesthetic and historic value.
Frederick Mifflin House has aesthetic value for its style and design and for its association with architect Ronald Strathie. Strathie was the grandson of Scottish artisan Alexander Strathie, who had been recruited to Bonavista by prominent Scottish merchant planter William Alexander in 1814 to build a house worthy of his standing. Ronald, a third generation carpenter, was perhaps the finest builder in the family, and brought the family name and business to its peak with the buildings he constructed. His legacy includes Memorial United Church, St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Presbytery and Alexander Mortuary Chapel of All Souls - all Registered Heritage Structures. Strathie’s mother, Elizabeth Mifflin, was likely his connection to the Mifflin Estate.
A vernacular interpretation of Gothic Revival style, Frederick Mifflin House was constructed circa 1909 by Strathie. The house retains trademark Strathie features, including a steeply gabled roof with double front peaks, gable windows topped with pediments decorated by round decals, rounded arch windows with raincaps and drip mouldings in the peaks and bracketed raincaps above rectangular windows. This house and its neighbours, Samson Mifflin House and John Mifflin House, are the best surviving examples of this style in Bonavista. All are significant for their distinctiveness of detail and as examples of architecture associated with the town of Bonavista.
Frederick Mifflin House has further aesthetic value because of its location within the community. Situated in the historic Church Street district the collective grouping of the three Mifflin Houses make a significant impact upon the landscape with their similarity of size and style.
Frederick Mifflin House has historic value for its age and association with its original owner Frederick Mifflin, who was the son of Samson Mifflin, the patriarch of the Mifflin family and the local agent for the West Country English firm of Benjamin Lester. Frederick is noted for having landed the first load of fish processed by the Bonavista Cold Storage Company in 1939. His grandson, also named Frederick, grew up in the house and eventually rose to the rank of Rear Admiral in the Canadian Navy, before becoming the Member of Parliament for Bonavista-Trinity-Conception and federal Minister of Fisheries.
Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador property file “Bonavista - Frederick Mifflin House - FPT 226”
Character Defining Elements
All those elements of the Gothic Revival vernacular style of architecture, indicative of the Strathie Bonavista style, and executed in traditional materials, including:
-number of storeys;
-steep gable roof;
-double front peak;
-chimney style (corbelled top) and placement;
-narrow wooden clapboard;
-window size, style, trim and placement, including rounded arch windows in peaks and gable windows topped with pediments decorated by round decals;
-bracketed raincaps and drip mouldings;
-size, style, trim and placement of exterior doors;
-size, style and location of porch on rear facade;
-size, style and location of addition on right gable end;
-dimension, location and orientation of building, and;
-location in the historic area of town on what was traditionally known as Mifflin Estate, surrounded by a picket fence and two other similarly styled Mifflin Houses.
Location and History