79 CHURCH STREET
Edward O'Connell House
The Edward O’Connell House is a two-and-a-half storey, gable-roofed dwelling house with double front peaks. It is located on Church Street, a historic area within the town of Bonavista, NL. Edward Augustus O’Connell built the home around the time of his marriage to Julia Mason, originally of Catalina, on January 11th, 1924. They were married at St. Joseph’s Church, Bonavista.
Originally the O’Connell property was much larger than it is today. Since the O’Connell’s raised cattle, they needed a large property which originally stretched to what is now known as Fitzgerald’s Lane, just off Church Street. Edward would often lead his cattle to a small watering hole near Walkham’s Bridge. This location was ideal for his cattle as ‘Small Harbour Pond” was not yet developed.
Today the small watering hole has been developed into a small crafts harbour and the brook which leads to the harbour is known as O’Connell’s Brook.
During the era of suppression of Catholic Ireland which began in the early 1600s the use of prefixes ‘O’ and ‘Mc’ or ‘Mac’ was widely dropped and only revived with the re-emergence of national consciousness in the late 19th century. In 1866 only 9% of the (O)Connell's were using the prefix O, between 1866 and 1890 it had increased to 33%. Edward’s father, Jeremiah was baptized in 1844 with the surname Connell. At the time of his marriage, he reinstated the ‘0’ and the couple was registered as Jeremiah and Susannah O’Connell. Jeremiah's 12 children carried on the original O’Connell name.
The Edward O’Connell House has aesthetic value for its style and design and for its association with architect Ronald Strathie. A vernacular interpretation of Gothic Revival style, it was constructed circa 1924 by Strathie, a noted architect and builder in the Bonavista region. Strathie’s legacy in the area can be seen in the unique architectural elements of the buildings he designed. Once restore the Edward O’Connell House will have reinstated Strathie trademark features, including a steeply gabled roof with double front peaks, gable windows topped with pediments decorated by round decals, rounded arch windows with rain caps and drip mouldings in the peaks and bracketed rain caps above rectangular windows. This house as well as the Mifflin homes on Church Street, are the best surviving examples of this style in Bonavista.