George C. Harris House Registered Heritage Structure
Statement of Significance
Formal Recognition Type
Registered Heritage Structure
Description of Historic Place
George C. Harris House is a two-and-a-half storey Queen Anne style house with a hip roof featuring a belvedere at the top. It is located on Water Street in Grand Bank, NL. The designation is confined to the property.
George C. Harris House was designated a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1993 because of its historic and aesthetic value.
George C. Harris House has historic value because of its associations with noted families and local events. George C. Harris, the owner of the house, became one of the most famous businessmen in Grand Bank and all of Newfoundland. In 1914 he became managing director of Samuel Harris Ltd., his father’s business, and began an expansion of his father's business on the Burin Peninsula. While initially successful, the rapid expansion backfired after the end of the First World War. Over-expansion, declining fish prices and government regulations eventually forced Harris into bankruptcy in 1922. At the time, it was thought to be the largest bankruptcy in the Dominion of Newfoundland. The loss of his father's business devastated Harris. He was left with nothing, and if not for the intervention of his brother-in-law, a local banker, he might have lost his house as well. His wife, Lottie, the sister of renowned poet E. J. Pratt, was known locally as a talented singer and painter. George and Lottie Harris lived in the house until their deaths in 1954, when Hazen Russell purchased the house.
George C. Harris House has aesthetic value because it is a great example of the Queen Anne style with Classical influence. Built during the height of the Grand Bank fishery, this house is rich in detail both inside and out. Large, symmetrical windows on the façade give the feeling of grandeur, as do the balustrade above the portico and the cresting on the roof. Additionally decorative is the slightly kicked eaves, supported by detailed eaves brackets. George C. Harris built two other houses beside this one in a similar style, one of which still exists in Grand Bank today.
George C. Harris House has further aesthetic value due to its environmental setting. It is a well known landmark in the community. Visual from both the land and sea, the George C. Harris House is grand in both style and setting. Also, it is located in a part of town that contains many other historic buildings, adding to the overall charm of the area.
Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador property file “Grand Bank - George C. Harris House – FPT 537”
Character Defining Elements
All original features which relate to the age and Queen Anne design of the property including:
-hipped roof with kicked eaves;
-entablature window trim;
-transom window lights over door;
-window and door placement on exterior;
-decorative raincap over main entrance;
-unimpeded view of harbour;
-all existing interior features that reflect the age and style of the building.
Location and History