Monday, February 22, 2021 - 9:30 AM

119 Waterford Bridge Road

119 Waterford Bridge Road

In September 2019, the City of St. John’s designated Summerlea, a two and a half storey wooden dwelling at 119 Waterford Bridge Road, as a heritage structure.

The history of Summerlea includes a tinge of mystery.

119 Waterford Bridge Road was the home to Mr. John Syme, a Scottish immigrant who moved to Newfoundland in 1863. Mr. Syme first resided in Harbour Grace and later moved to St. John’s. It is believed that Summerlea was built in the late 1870s, outside City boundaries at the time. The original documents detailing the exact building date and registry of the property deed were destroyed by fire.

Mr. Syme was listed as a general accountant for municipal council and later as a commission agent, broker and Chartered Accountant. Mr. Syme was also appointed to a position with the Legislation Council of Government in Newfoundland during the mid-late 1880s and volunteered on the St. John’s Curling Club Executive and the Regatta Committee.

An article in the Evening Telegram states that the original house burned on June 13, 1886, and that Mr. Syme intended to build a large cottage. Therefore, it is assumed that the house at Summerlea was built in the late 1880s.

Summerlea is situated on the south side of Waterford Bridge Road and is one of the few homes original to the area. The dwelling is built in the Carpenter Gothic style of architecture and is unique in design compared to the surrounding properties. Notable features include a steep pitched gable roof, a single-front peak roof, decorative bargeboard, a pinnacle, rounded arch windows, gable windows, and diagonal siding in patterns on multiple sides of the structure. The dwelling also includes two bay windows at the front with decorative corbels, stained-glass windows and four-pane windows throughout. 

While the heritage designation does not regulate the interior of buildings, it is worthwhile to note that many of the original materials remain including plaster mouldings and medallions on the ceiling, and wooden floors and trims throughout.