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Society of United Fishermen SUF Lodge #9 Municipal Heritage Site

Society of United Fishermen SUF Lodge #9, Bonavista, NL
Society of United Fishermen SUF Lodge #9, Bonavista, NL
Society of United Fishermen SUF Lodge #9, Bonavista, NL

Statement of Significance

Formal Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land

Description of Historic Place

The Society of United Fishermen Lodge #9 is a Gothic inspired, wooden building with arched windows and a steep roof. It is located on a parcel of flat land at 005-011 Canon Bayley Road in Bonavista, NL. The municipal heritage designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Society of United Fishermen Lodge #9 has been designated a municipal heritage site by the town of Bonavista due to its historic, cultural and aesthetic values.

Society of United Fishermen Lodge #9 has historic value because of its association with the Society of United Fishermen in the region. In 1862 Rev. George Gardner, a Church of England minister, formed a support group called the Heart's Content Fisherman's Society. The society later began to expand its membership into other outports and became known as the Society of United Fishermen (SUF). The fraternal organization provided fellowship and established a mutual support system for its members at a time when few services were available to fishermen and their families. The SUF Hall in Bonavista was constructed in 1875, a year after the organization established itself in the community, and continues to be a gathering place for the SUF.

Society of United Fishermen Lodge #9 has cultural value due to the use of SUF symbolism on its exterior. A triangle surrounding a Maltese Cross was chosen as the symbol of the SUF. The triangle represents Newfoundland's approximate shape, with Cape Bauld, Cape Race and Cape Ray being the points of the triangle. The Maltese Cross represents the eight Beatitudes that members are taught to learn and observe. The mass of the building establishes its place in community life and speaks to a tradition of institutional use of the structure.

Society of United Fishermen Lodge #9 has aesthetic value as it is a good example of an early fraternal gathering hall in an outport context. Unique design elements on the exterior of the building permit creativity in an otherwise formal, uniform structure.

Source: Town of Bonavista Town Council meeting minutes of 2006/08/14

Character Defining Elements

All those architectural features which speak to the design, age, construction and use of the building as an outport Newfoundland fraternal hall, including:

-steep gable roof;
-number of storeys;
-corner boards;
-decorative use of clapboard on the bias;
-narrow clapboard;
-triangular window with Maltese cross motif;
-pointed arch windows;
-window size, style, trim and placement;
-size, style, trim and placement of exterior doors;
-stone pile foundation;
-dimension, location and orientation of building.

Location and History

Community Bonavista
Municipality Town of Bonavista
Civic Address 005-011 Canon Bayley Road
Construction (circa) 1874 - 1875
Style Gothic Revival
Building Plan Rectangular Short Façade
Website Link