Music of the Eye 

Architectural Drawings of Saint John  1822 - 1914

Book honours architects who left their mark on Saint John

Dad was replacing the sill in the side window of the front door, when the minister dropped in for a visit.

The Reverend eyed the house carefully and asked, “Do you know the name of the architect who designed this house?”

Dad replied, “I don’t have a clue as to the name of the architect but I know the builder was a rough carpenter who certainly didn’t have any training in using a square or level.”

In “Music of the Eye - Architectural Drawings of Canada’s First City - 1822 to 1914", Gary K. Hughes has given biographical information on 13 architects who left their mark in Saint John through buildings.

John Cunningham was born in Dumfrieshire, Scotland and was in Saint John by 1819 when he is credited for the design and construction of the C. J. Peters house on Coburg Street - the present Knights of Columbus building. He was the successful applicant in the design competition for the Saint John County Court House and was responsible for the spires atop the tower of Stone Church as well as many other projects.

Alexander Light came to New Brunswick in 1850 as Principal Assistant Engineer for the St. Andrews and Quebec Railway. In 1858 he married a daughter of the prominent Saint John businessman, Honourable Hugh Johnston.  He performed structural tests on the Suspension Bridge over the Reversing Falls and was the engineer for the highway bridges at Hampton Ferry, Trout Creek and Musquash. As Chief Engineer for the European & North American Railway, he supervised and approved all drawings for the line.

Matthew Stead was born in Ludlow, Shropshire, England in 1809 and came to New Brunswick with his wife. His first building project was an 1845 design for the provincial Lunatic Asylum. He did the layout of the Rural Cemetery - “Fernhill” - in 1847 and the design for St. Paul’s (Valley) Church in 1869. His death occurred in Saint John in 1879.

David E. Dunham, who was born in Hampstead Parish, Queens County in 1839, placed an advertisement in the Daily Telegraph, on October 19, 1875 with a complete list of his projects to that date with the name of each client. His headline for the 1877 advertisement read, “Homes for the People”.

William P. Clarke was a partner with David Dunham for a short time after the Great Fire of 1877.  He prepared drawings and supervised construction of the mansion for Belgian emigree Count Robert Visart de Bury.

R. C. John Dunn, son of John Dunn, a Saint John cabinetmaker and lumber manufacturer,  worked in the United States before entering into partnership with William Morgan Smith. Together they designed residences on Manawagonish Road and a resort hotel at Lily Lake. One of his last contracts in 1901, was a home on the west side for Louis Ready of the brewing family business.

Harry H. Mott, born in 1858 in Central Cambridge, Queens County, was the son of a farmer. He was the designer in 1883 for the Baptist Church near his birthplace. His plans for the annex to the Winter Street School made it the first fireproof school in the province. His design in 1889 for No. 3 Engine House on Union Street was selected.

Frederick Neil Brodie was born in 1871 in Fredericton but moved to Saint John at an early age. He attended Saint John Grammar School and continued his education in the United States. His first commission was converting the Madras School on Duke Street to domestic use. He designed an exotic stone “castle” for E. O. Baker in South Bay in 1915. His school commissions include St. Peter’s Boys School, St. Patrick’s School and the Saint John Vocational School.

Through text, photos and architectural drawings in the 128 page publication, “Music of the Eye - Architectural Drawings of Canada’s First City - 1822 to 1914", Gary K. Hughes, presents insight into buildings and their builders, allowing the reader to better understand the part played by economic climate, political factors, availability of land and building materials on the architect’s creations on the draughting board.

The 1992 publication can be found in most research institutions in New Brunswick.

A copy of  “Music of the Eye - Architectural Drawings of Canada’s First City - 1822 to 1914" by Gary K. Hughes for sale at

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Query 1118
: My great-grandfather James McIsaac was one of the eight survivors of the Lord Ashburton ship wreck on Grand Manan Island in 1857, who was sent to the Marine Hospital in Saint John, New Brunswick. I am seeking information as to the names and injuries of those survivors.

12 Hannah Dr.
Warwick, RI, 02888, USA.

Query 1119
Atherton - Doyle
: Francis Atherton and Hugh Doyle were born in Saint John, circa 1788 and were married there on 21 Jun 1813. I am seeking information on their parents and children.

639 South 700 West
Brigham City, Utah, 84302, USA.

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