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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Saint John in Saint John County, New Brunswick — The Canadian Atlantic
 

The Great Fire of 1877/L’incendie de 1877

Trinity Royal

 

—Saint John’s First Historic Preservation Area/Premiere de conservation historique de Saint John —

 
Trinity Royal Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, June 11, 2014
1. Trinity Royal Marker
Captions: (background photo) June 1877 Queen Square looking south.; (photographs, counter-clockwise from top, left) 1) Germain Street looking north.; 2) Germain Street looking south.; 3) Trinity Church looking west.; 4) Lower Cove looking north west.; 5) Queen Square looking south west.; 6) Queen Square looking east.; 7) Corner of Princess & Charlotte Streets.; 8) Market Square
Inscription. There are two side to this marker
English
The Great Fire of 1877

One of the most destructive fires of modern times occurred at Saint John, N.B., on Wednesday, June 20th, 1877. It was more calamitous in its character than the terrible conflagration which plunged portions of Chicago into ruin, and laid waste the great business houses of Boston a few years ago”.The Story of the Great Fire in Saint John, N.B., author George Stewart (1848-1906)


To truly appreciate the harmonious rhythm of the architecture that currently graces the streets of uptown Saint John and in particular the Trinity Royal Heritage Preservation Area, one must understand the impact that “Great Fire” of 1877 had on the community: George Stewart in his The Story of the Great Fire in Saint John, N.B. provides a very vivid description to the fire and with this quote he attempts to put the fire in perspective with the other “great fires” which occurred in the 19th century in North America.

The Saint John fire of 1877 destroyed two-thirds of the central portion of the city. Lost in the fire were businesses, churches, and homes along with all their inventory, records, photographs, heirlooms and memorabilia. The extent of the damage, destruction
Trinity Royal Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, June 11, 2014
2. Trinity Royal Marker
Captions: (background photograph) Trinity Anglican Church c. 1900.; 1) Germain at Princess looking north.; 2) Germain Street looking south.: 3) Celebrations on Charlotte Street.; 4) Queen Square.; 5) Water Street.; (map on left, English) Germain Street to Princess, known as the “Quality Block” was and still is the home of many small family owned and operated businesses. Each of their entrances along the street had, at one time, red carpet that represented “quality” and was a wonderful site to behold when looking from King Street down Germain. This mercantile pride is commemorated with a large “Q” in the brick sidewalks the logo of the Quality Block. (French) Soulignons que la partie de la rue Germain jusqu’à la rue Princess, désignée sous le nom de “Quality Block”, abritait et abrite toujours de petits commerces familiaux. Chacune des entrées avait autrefois un tapis rouge, indice de qualité, et donnait un coup d’oeil extraordinaire à partir de la rue King. Cette fierté mercantile se trouve inscrite sous la forme d’un “Q” dans les briques du trottoir du quartier.
and loss was so great that many insurance companies went bankrupt trying to satisfy claims.

By 1881, however, a mere four years later, the city had re-built itself, and in fact during this period of reconstruction, more buildings were erected than were originally lost. The best architects, craftsmen and artisans were brought from Montreal, Boston, New York and Halifax to work with leading Saint John designers to re-build the city.

As you look down Germain Street, it is hard to imagine, but for the most part all the buildings you can see were erected during the four-year "re-building” of Saint John. Akin to the pheonix (sic) rising from the ashes it was this incredible act of destruction - the “Great Fire” of 1877 that enabled Saint John to have the magnificent streetscapes that presently surround.

French
L’incendie de 1877

”Un des incendies le plus destructeur de l’ere moderne a frappé Saint John, au Nouveau-Brunswick, le mercredi, 20 juin 1877, une véritable calamité plus considérable encore que les conflagrations qui ont causé la ruine de plusieurs quartiers de Chicago et détruit les grandes industries de Boston, il y a quelques années”.The Story of the Great Fire in Saint John, N.B., par George Stewart (1848-1906)


Afin de mieux apprécier le rythme
Trinity Royal Marker image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, June 11, 2014
3. Trinity Royal Marker
harmonieux de l’architecture des rues de centre-ville de Saint John, en particulier celles de quartier Trinity Royal, il faut avant tour comprendre l’impact de l’incendie de 1877 sur la collectivité. Dans The Story of the Great Fire in Sain John, N.B., George Stewart donne une description évocatrice de l’incendie et tente de placer l’épisode à sa juste place parmi les autres grandes conflagrations de XIXᵉ siècle, en Amérique du Nord.

L’incendie catastrophique de 1877 a détruit le deux-tiers du centre-ville de Saint John, ses enterprises, ses églises, ses résidences ainsi que les biens, archives, photographies, trésors et souvenirs personnels qui s y trouvaient. Le nombre des réclamations et l’étendue des dommages et de pertes ont mené plusieurs compagnies d’assurances à la faillite.

En 1881, à peine quatre ans après le sinistre, la ville avait surgi des flammes pour se doter de plus d’édifices qu’auparavant. Des architectes de renom, des ouvriers et des artisans vinrent de Montréal, Boston, New York, et Halifax se joindre aux concepteurs chevronnées de Saint John pour faire renaître la ville.

Quand on jette un coup d’oeil à la rue Germain, on a peiné à croire que la grande majorité des édifices datent en réalité de cette période de 4 ans de reconstruction. Tout comme le phénix qui renaît de ses cendres, la force destructrice de l’incendie
Trinity Anglican Church image. Click for full size.
By Barry Swackhamer, June 11, 2014
4. Trinity Anglican Church
de 1877 a doté Saint John de magnifique panorama urbain qui nous entoure aujourd’hui.

Side two
Quarter historique protege
Trinity Royal
Preservation Area


English
You are standing on the northern boundary of what s known as “Trinity Royal”. In 1982, in order to maintain the unique nature of the surrounding 19th century architecture, the City enacted a by-law and designated “Trinity Royal” a heritage preservation area. This heritage preservation area encompasses twenty city blocks on the western half of the central peninsula, approximately half of the rebuilt city. It’s western boundary being Water Street, then it runs north along King Street, east as far as Charlotte Street and south to Harding Street. King’s Square and Queen Square are both included. The designated streets are easily identified by the blue and white heritage street signs.

The name “Trinity Royal” comes from the dominance of the beautiful steeple and weather vane of Trinity Anglican Church on Germain Street, a land mark that can be seen from almost anywhere in the uptown area. This is combined with the “royal” street names that criss-cross the area - King, Queen, Princess, Duke and Prince William Streets. Another interesting point is that the boundaries of the designated area also nearly
<i>Trinity Church, Germain St. Entrance, St. John, N.B.</i> image. Click for full size.
By Montreal Import Co., 1910
5. Trinity Church, Germain St. Entrance, St. John, N.B.
replicated the original city as laid out by the Loyalists, which they has christened Parr Town, after John Parr, the Governor of Nova Scotia.

“Trinity Royal” is unique in that it encompasses both business and residential architecture . A stroll down Germain Street will quickly demonstrate this face. The first block, known as “The Quality Block” is dominated by commercial establishments, but crossing Princess Street, the building soon become predominately residential. Originally designed and built as single-family homes, today many of these grand residences have been converted into multi-family dwellings. Sir Leonard Tilley, New Brunswick’s Father of Confederation, and Lady Alice Tilley resided at 223 Germain Street, while New Burnswick’s first oil magnate Joseph Bullock erected residences for himself and family members at 179, 183, 185 and 187 Germain Street.

Much is known of the architecture and origins of these magnificent structures and can be found in the City of Saint John’s publication: Three Historic Walking Tours available at all Tourist Information Centres. Enjoy your stroll into our past!

French
Vous êtes maintenant à la frontière nord du quartier “Trinity Royal”. En 1982, afin de préserver le caractère unique de l’architecture du XIXᵉ siècle dans le quartier, la ville de Saint John a adopté un règlement faisant du quartier un “Trinity Royal” un quartier historique protégé. Ce quadrilatère comprend 20 rues sur le côté ouest de la péninsule centrale, soit environ la moitié de la ville reconstruite après l’incendie. Le quartier se trouve délimité, de côté ouest par la rue Water, de côté nord par la rue King, du côté est par la rue Charlotte et du côté sud par la rue Harding et inclut les carrés King et Queen. Les rues qui font partie de quartier se reconnaissent à leur plaque distinctive, bleue et blanche.

L’appellation “Trinity Royal” provient de la place prédominante qu’ont le magnifique clocher et la girouette de l’église anglicane Trinity, sur la rue Germain, un point de repère visible partout au centre-ville. À cela s’ajoute la reference royale du nom des rues de ce secteur (King, Queen, Princess, Duke, Prince William). Autre fait intéressant, le quartier historique correspond à peu près à la ville fondée par les Loyalistes sous le nom de Parr Town, en l’honneur de John Parr, le gouverneur de la Nouvelle-Écosse.
“Trinity Royal” se distingue parce qu’il allie l’architecture résidentielle et commerciale, ce que l’on peut constater des qu’on aborde la rue Germain. Le “Quality Block”, jusqu’à la rue Princess, se compose surtout d’édifices commerciaux et le reste de la rue d’édifices résidentiels. Construites d’abord comme maisons unifamiliales, la plupart de ce grandes maisons abritent maintenant plusieurs familles. Sir Leonard Tilley, le père de la Confederation représentant le Nouveau-Brunswick, et Lady Alice Tilley ont habité le 223, tandis que Joseph Bullock, le premier magnat du pétrole au Nouveau-Brunswick, a fait construire des residences pour lui-même et les membres de sa famille aux 179, 183, 185 et 187 de la rue Germain.

On connaît plusieurs détails au sujet de l’architecture et de l’origine de ces magnifique et on peut les trouver dans une publication de la ville de Saint John intitulée Trois promenades historiques, disponible dans les bureaux de tourisme. Partez maintenant à la découverte du passé!
 
Erected by Uptown Saint John.
 
Location. 45° 16.387′ N, 66° 3.632′ W. Marker is in Saint John, New Brunswick, in Saint John County. Marker is at the intersection of King Street and Germain Street, on the right when traveling east on King Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 44 King Street, Saint John, New Brunswick E2L, Canada.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Centerbeam Place (about 120 meters away, measured in a direct line); King Edward VII Memorial Bandstand (about 150 meters away); Saint John City Market (about 150 meters away); King’s Square (about 150 meters away); Prince William Street - Before and After the 1877 Fire (about 150 meters away); The Marco Polo (about 180 meters away); New Brunswick’s First School of Law (about 180 meters away); Scottish Strength (about 180 meters away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Saint John.
 
Categories. Churches, Etc.DisastersNotable Places
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 29, 2014, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California. This page has been viewed 307 times since then and 31 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on September 29, 2014, by Barry Swackhamer of San Jose, California.   5. submitted on September 30, 2014. • Andrew Ruppenstein was the editor who published this page.
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