Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Marysville Cenotaph, Gibson Home and Brick Tenements Added to Register (July 26/10)

The Cenotaph in Veterans Memorial Park and a modest Canada Street home where legendary business tycoon Alexander “Boss” Gibson lived until 1866 are among six Marysville properties added to the Local Historic Places Register today by Fredericton City Council. The other four properties are brick homes built by Gibson for employees of the cotton mill he built in Marysville during the heyday of his commercial empire. They are located at 6, 8 and 14 Downing Street, and 42 Bridge Street.
(Brick Home at 14 Downing St)

The Marysville Cenotaph, located near the corner of Canada and Bridge streets, overlooks the Nashwaak River. The First World War monument, an obelisk carved of light-coloured granite stele, was erected in 1925. The Second World War monument of dark granite was erected in 1967. This land was donated to Marysville in 1924 by Canadian Cottons, corporate owners of the Marysville cotton mill.

The one-and-half-story gabled house at 185 Canada Street was built for Gibson by Henry Pickard in 1864. Gibson lived in the home for two years before moving into an ornate mansion in the Marysville area known as “Nob Hill.” During construction, an additional 20 houses were built along Canada Street for his employees. These homes marked the beginning of a building boom in the small community which lasted for nearly two decades.

The three red-brick tenement houses on Downing Street added to the Register were built by John Kelly of Saint John in 1889. Constructed of locally manufactured brick, these four-bedroom, single-family dwellings are among the more than 50 homes Gibson provided for the families of his employees. A few of these homes were converted into duplexes in 1917, reflecting a localized housing shortage as the First World War drew to a close.

The homes, erected in close proximity to the mill, reflect the paternal model of 19th century labour relations, in which workers and management were separated not only by distance but by housing design. The simple brick tenements stand in sharp contrast to the wood frame dwellings constructed for mill managers and overseers. The signature red-brick of these workers’ houses was manufactured locally at Gibson’s brickyard.

The Local Historic Places Register is a list of places deemed to be of local historical significance. It was established as a result of a Federal Government Program called the “Historic Places Initiative” and designed to raise awareness of historic places and encourage conservation.

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