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The House Registered Heritage Structure

The House, St. John's, NL
The House, St. John's, NL
The House, St. John's, NL

Statement of Significance

Formal Recognition Type

Registered Heritage Structure

Description of Historic Place

The House is a two-and-a-half storey Queen Anne style structure with an attached garage, located at 021 Rennie’s Mill Road, St. John’s. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The House was designated a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador in 2001 because of its architectural, historical and environmental values.

Architecturally, The House, at 021 Rennies Mill Road, is significant because of the architect associated with it, William F. Butler. Butler, one of the most prestigious architects in the region, was responsible for building some of the most impressive structures in pre-confederation Newfoundland including Bartra and Winterholme. The House, which is a Queen Anne style structure, is a fine example of the work undertaken by Butler after the Great Fire of 1892. Typical characteristic of the Queen Anne style utilized by Butler on many of his buildings are featured on this house including the pedimented portico, leaded-glass windows, and dominating double bays. As do many of Butler’s buildings, The House speaks of the extravagance of its original owners through its ornate exterior detailing and intricate interior wood detailing. Other notable details of this house that add to its overall appeal are its textured finishes, symmetrical façade, iron porch fencing, and bold moulded trim. As well, the attached car garage is one of the first of its kind in the city, which also speaks to the wealth of the original owners.

Historically, The House is significant because of the prominent businessman associated with it. Originally this house was built for James Ryan, a Bonavista merchant and politician. Ryan was one of the few outport merchants of that able to build a home in St. John’s while still maintaining his successful business in the outport. James Ryan and Company was one of the largest fishery supply and import-export firms in Newfoundland and Ryan himself was well regarded throughout the region for his generous offerings to the church and communities most needy.

Environmentally, The House is valuable because of it location. Situated on the corner of Monkstown Road and Rennie’s Mill Road, this extravagant house dominates the streetscape, an important marker of the beginning of the Rennie’s Mill Historic District.

Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador property file “St. John's - The House - FPT 884”

Character Defining Elements

All those original features which are reflective of William F. Butler's representation of Queen Anne style, including:
-multiple pediments;
-varying exterior wall textures;
-an imposing pedimented porch;
-narrow wooden clapboard;
-wooden shingles;
-original wooden windows and doors and their openings;
-original doors;
-double bays;
-original leaded-glass transom above main entranceway;
-all other original leaded-glass windows;
-iron fencing around porch;
-all decorative exterior features including mouldings and trim; and
-overall dimensions and location of structure.

All interior features of the house reflective of its age, style and usage.

Location and History

Community St. John's
Municipality City of St. John's
Civic Address 021 Rennie's Mill Road
Construction (circa) 1890 - 1907
William F. Butler
James Ryan
Style Queen Anne
Building Plan Square
Website Link