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Avondale Railway Station Registered Heritage Structure

Avondale Railway Station, Avondale, NL
Avondale Railway Station, Avondale, NL
Avondale Railway Station, Avondale, NL

Statement of Significance

Formal Recognition Type

Registered Heritage Structure

Description of Historic Place

The Avondale Railway Station is a two storey Second Empire style building with attached warehouse, located in Avondale, NL. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.

Heritage Value

The Avondale Railway Station was designated a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1988 because of its historic and aesthetic value.

Avondale Railway Station has historic value because of its association with communications and transportation in Newfoundland. Built by the Anglo-Newfoundland Telegraph Company - in either 1870 or 1880 - the Avondale Railway Station served as a repeater station for the first telegraph land line serving St. John's. From 1900-1949 it was a freight and passenger station operated by the Reid Newfoundland Company. It was an important terminus during World War II for transporting men working at the American military bases in Argentia. Now the oldest surviving railway station in Newfoundland, from 1949 until its closure in 1984 the Canadian National Railway used the station as a terminus for their passenger and freight service in Conception Bay.

The Reid Newfoundland Company played an important role in the development of transportation in Newfoundland. In addition to operating a mainline between the east and west coasts, the Reid Company also ran several smaller branch lines. The Reid’s were promoters of the pulp and paper and mining industries, as well as operators of a coastal boat service and telegraph line. Twenty-five years after assuming control of the railway, the Reid Newfoundland Company began to concentrate on other development schemes and wished to rid itself of the unprofitable railway. In 1923, following much political manoeuvring, the government of the Dominion of Newfoundland once again assumed responsibility for the railway, as well as the coastal boat service and St. John’s drydock. With Confederation in 1949, the Canadian National Railway took over the operation of railway lines in the province. Until its closure in 1984, the CNR used the Avondale station as a terminus for their passenger and freight service in Conception Bay.

Avondale Railway Station has aesthetic value as a noteworthy example of Second Empire style typically employed in Anglo-Newfoundland Telegraph Company buildings. This includes a mansard roof and arched dormers. It is of further importance as it is one of the oldest surviving railway stations in Newfoundland.

Source: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador property file “Avondale - Avondale Railway Station – FPT 1422”

Character Defining Elements

Those relating to its use as a railway station include:
-Reid Newfoundland Company colours on exterior (yellow and green);
-positioning of windows and door on front facade;
-overhang on front facade;
-location of building adjacent to and oriented toward railway bed.

Those architectural features reflective of the Newfoundland interpretation of the Second Empire style, including:
-mansard roof;
-roof and eaves trim;
-return on eaves;
-dormer size, style, trim and placement;
-window size, style, trim and placement;
-size, style, trim and placement of exterior doors;
-narrow wooden clapboard;
-corner boards;
-number of storeys;
-dimensions of building.

Location and History

Community Avondale
Municipality Town of Avondale
Construction 1870 - 1880
Style Second Empire
Building Plan Rectangular Long Façade
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