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Old Carbonear Post Office Registered Heritage Structure

Old Carbonear Post Office, Carbonear, NL
Old Carbonear Post Office, Carbonear, NL
Old Carbonear Post Office, Carbonear, NL

Statement of Significance

Formal Recognition Type

Registered Heritage Structure

Description of Historic Place

Old Carbonear Post Office is a two-storey building with a central clock tower designed in the Second Empire style. Built in 1905, the Old Carbonear Post Office is a prominent landmark on the built landscape of Carbonear, NL and is a good example of an early twentieth-century government building. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

Old Carbonear Post Office was designated a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1988 for its aesthetic and historic value.

Old Carbonear Post Office has aesthetic value as an excellent example of the Second Empire style employed in an early twentieth-century government building. Elements like the mansard roof, clock tower and dual entranceways give the building a symmetrical facade, while the large windows indicate the public use of the post office. The style, large size and comparative scale of the building makes it stand out among surrounding buildings.

Old Carbonear Post Office has further aesthetic value as an integral component of the streetscape in downtown Carbonear. It is a highly visible landmark in the community of Carbonear and the clock tower, mansard roof and location within the community’s main commercial area make it a focal point from many vantages.

Old Carbonear Post Office has historic value as a representation of the importance of the post office in early twentieth-century communities. It represents the presence of government institutions in small communities at that time and it was an important hub of communication for the community of Carbonear. The post office is also historically significant as an enduring symbol of community resilience. This structure replaced the original post office that burned in a fire in 1904 - a fire that claimed the life of the postmistress who died while saving others. A memorial was erected to commemorate this tragic and heroic act.

Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador property file “Carbonear - Old Carbonear Post Office - FPT 1504”

Character Defining Elements

All those elements of the Second Empire style of architecture, including:
- number of storeys;
- mansard roof;
- wooden roof shingles on mansard portion of the roof;
- pedimented dormers on second story;
- eaves brackets;
- size, style and location of tower on front façade;
- cresting and clock on tower;
- narrow wooden clapboard;
- wooden corner boards;
- wooden window size, style, trim and placement, including double windows on the main building and single windows in the tower and entablature style bracketed raincaps over most;
- size, style, trim and placement of wood panel exterior doors with bracketed raincaps;
- double entrance in tower, and;
- dimension, location and orientation of building.

Location and History

Community Carbonear
Municipality Town of Carbonear
Civic Address Water Street
Construction 1905 - 1905
Style Second Empire
Building Plan Square
Website Link http://www.manl.nf.ca/index.php/component/mtree/regional-listings/avalon/old-carbonear-post-office.html