What would the Cookies of the Girl Guides
of Canada have to do with
the design of a Fence in Saint John?
What is a Gargoyle?
Throughout the fall, all the wood for the kitchen stove had been ranked in the wood shed along with a stack of cedar kindling.
The furnace wood, the potatoes, the vegetables and Mum’s preserves and pickles were in the cellar.
On this day, Dad was trying to finish readying the house for winter by
banking all around the exterior with sawdust and putting on the storm
windows. But a problem arose when he brought the wooden storm door from
overhead in the shed. It seems he had been intending to build a new one
as this one was showing signs of rotting boards but time had slipped
away on him.
He got out the fold-up wooden measuring tape and measured the opening, which I wrote on the back of last month’s calendar page.
I didn’t understand as he mumbled that the builder of this old house in
the early 1800s did not have a square or level in his tool box.
Some planed boards were fetched from the barn. The small glass window,
hinges and latch from the old door were recycled to the new one.
We held the door in place as Dad nailed on the hinge. But he missed the
first nail and hit his thumb and the air turned blue. He rushed into the
house to soak his thumb in cold water. I thought I should go see what
was going on and let go of the door. With a crash the door landed on the
cement step and the window broke.
As I looked at the pictures of heritage homes at www.historicplaces.ca, I
wondered how they were readied for winter and if the children
participated in the task.
The Canadian Register of Historic Places website is not just about the
design and history of the building in all provinces of Canada but gives
information on the families who called these houses home.
The Frederick G. Spencer Residence with its large cornice and a
pedimented portico was built in 1914 at 41 Orange Street in Saint John
by William Kenneth Haley of Haley Brothers & Co. It was ready for
occupancy in 1919. Spencer first entered the tailoring business of his
grandfather’s at the age of 16. Four years later, he married singer
Helen Craigle. He lost interest in the tailoring business and became
involved in the entertainment industry. He managed the Canadian concert
tours of a number of famous performers. He opened and operated one of
Saint John’s earliest theatres located on Charlotte Street known as “The
The George Nixon Building, built circa 1878 is a three-storey brick
Italianate commercial/residential building with two shops at the
storefront level and apartments above. It is located on King Street in
Saint John. George Nixon’s wall paper store - the first in Saint John -
was established in 1855 and operated from this location for nearly 100
Thomas A. Rankine, established a prominent biscuit manufacturing
business located on Mill and George Streets in 1826. His sons’
residences on 210 and 212 Germain Street, Saint John, had a circular floral pattern on
the cast iron fence and gate that reflects the mould of one of the
Rankines' most famous cookies, specifically designed for the Girl Guides
of Canada. Gargoyles are stone heads with an opening at the mouth that
deflects water from the roof through the mouth and makes a gargling
sound that gives the head the name gargoyle. I believe this building has
the only true gargoyles on a house in Saint John, as they transport the
water from the eaves.
Senator Dever Residence, 5 Chipman Hill, Saint John was built circa 1850
and was once part of the Ward Chipman estate. James Dever was born at
Bellyshannon, Ireland in 1825. He came to Saint John as a child with his
parents and was educated here. He was called to the senate as a
representative of the Saint John District and of the Roman Catholic
denomination in 1868 and attended every session until his death in 1904
The first owner of the saltbox house design built circa 1890 at 131
George Street, Dalhousie was Andrew Loggie, a prominent New Brunswick
merchant, who, with his brother, Robert, founded the firm A&R Loggie
Company Limited in 1881 in Loggieville on the Miramichi. The brothers
started by selling fish door to door, and branched out into fish packing
and freezing from Maine to the North Shore of New Brunswick. Andrew
moved to Dalhousie in 1890 to run the A&R Loggie store on William
Meadow Lodge, a two-storey, twenty-room, wooden residence was built in
the Shingle Style in 1909 for Frederick W. Thompson, Vice President and
Managing Director of Ogilvie Flour Mills as a summer residence in St.
Andrews. It was designed by famed Montreal architects Edward and William
Maxwell. The Maxwells were also responsible for furnishing and
decorating Meadow Lodge, as well as laying out the grounds for the
driveway, gardening, tennis court, and stable.
Erected circa 1845, the Yeamans House is a three-storey wood-frame
steeply gabled house situated on Yeamans Road, adjacent to Newcastle
Creek in the Village of Minto. Lt. Col. John Yeamans, a loyalist from
New York came to New Brunswick in 1783. His son Peter (R.P.), a justice
of the peace and road commissioner, built the present house around 1845.
At one time, church services were held here before the local Anglican church was completed in 1846.
Although, I enjoyed all the information on the heritage buildings, I was
intrigued with the Gibson Family Plot in the Marysville area of
Fredericton. The plot consists of a large central white granite monument
encircled by 27 smaller burial markers, many of intricate design.
The distinct circular arrangement of graves is unusual and unique. Of
interest to me also was this town was originally called Rankin Mills.
Boss Gibson had the name changed to Marysville to honour his wife, Mary
I learned much from the Glossary of Terms, such as ashlar stone has been
cut square and dressed. A bellcast roof flares out at the eaves. A
palladian window is a three-part window consisting of a tall centre
window, usually round-headed, flanked by two shorter, narrower windows.
Portico means a covered porch or walkway supported by columns.
Family researchers are not the only ones looking at the heritage
buildings, as students have searched out and photographed ones suitable
for their Stonehammer geopark related assignments.
By the way, I did not find any mention of family members getting the
houses ready for winter but I did find lots of information on the past
owners of more than 12,000 heritage buildings in the online Canadian
Register of Historic Places.
Since the Rankine Brothers
were associated with the Girl Guides of Canada, their cast iron fence
had circular floral patterns that reflect the mould of the cookie,
specifically designed for the Girl Guides of Canada. (Joan Pearce Collection)
Gargoyles are stone heads with an opening at the mouth that
deflects water from the roof through the mouth and makes a gargling
sound that gives the head the name gargoyle. (Joan Pearce Collection)