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FPU Factory/Advocate Building Municipal Heritage Site

FPU Factory/Advocate Building, Port Union, NL
FPU Factory/Advocate Building, Port Union, NL
FPU Factory/Advocate Building, Port Union, NL

Statement of Significance

Formal Recognition Type

Municipal Heritage Building, Structure or Land

Description of Historic Place

The FPU Factory/Advocate Building is a three storey, wooden building located on Main Street in Port Union, NL. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The FPU Factory/Advocate Building has been designated a municipal heritage site by the Town of Trinity Bay North because of its historic and aesthetic value.

The FPU Factory/Advocate Building has historic value because of its associations with the Fishermen’s Protective Union (FPU). Sir William Coaker founded the FPU in 1908 and in 1917 established Port Union, a rare example of a town intentionally built by a labour organization. Port Union was envisioned as a place where the full wealth of the fishery could be used to the advantage of many, rather than a privileged few. Coaker stressed the importance of economic diversification, encouraging the establishment of new industries and services. The FPU Factory/Advocate Building was the site of one such diversification project - a woodworking shop which was located on the second floor and serviced by an electric elevator, possibly the only one outside St. John’s at the time. The building was also home to the Fishermen’s Advocate, an influential, often controversial and very popular newspaper established in 1910 as a means to communicate the ideals of Coaker and the union. In 1924 the newspaper’s headquarters were moved from St. John’s to Port Union and remained there until publication ceased in 1980. The FPU Factory/Advocate Building stands as a physical reminder of Sir William Coaker’s vision for Newfoundland and its working masses.

The FPU Factory/Advocate Building has aesthetic value as an example of early twentieth century industrial style construction in an outport context. It is a physical reminder of the drive to diversity sponsored by the FPU in Port Union. The building is an important component of the built landscape of this intentionally built town.

Source: Town of Trinity Bay North Council Meeting Motion #2006-09-11-816 September 11, 2006.

Character Defining Elements

All those exterior features that are reflective of the age, industrical character, and original function of the property including:
-elevator shaft head;
-number of storeys;
-flat roof;
-use of narrow clapboard with corner board trim;
-exterior colours (ochre and cream);
-window size, style, trim and placement;
-size, style, trim and placement of exterior doors;
-and scale, location and orientation of building.

Notes of Interest

One of the earliest elevator shafts in the province.

Location and History

Community Port Union
Municipality Town of Trinity Bay North
Civic Address 055-059 Main Street South
Construction 1920 - 1920
Fishermen's Protective Union
Style Commercial Vernacular
Building Plan Rectangular Long Façade
Website Link