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St. John’s landmark Devon House for sale

Devon House in downtown St. John's is shown from a listing by O'Dea's Realty and Auction Room Ltd.
Devon House in downtown St. John's is shown from a listing by O'Dea's Realty and Auction Room Ltd. - Submitted

The Craft Council of Newfoundland and Labrador is selling its landmark building Devon House in downtown St. John’s

“It will stand another 200 years. It’s waiting for the imagination of a buyer to decide how it will be used next,” said realtor Chris O’Dea of Odea’s Realty and Auction Room Ltd.

The four-storey Devon House, at 59 Duckworth St. is priced at $999,000.

The brownstone building survived the great fire of 1892 and has a backdoor view of the St. John’s Harbourfront.

The Craft Council has occupied the space for about 27 years but is seeking a more accessible dwelling, O’Dea said.

While in recent memory it’s been a retail space showcasing the talents of craft council members, Devon House has a remarkable history.

“No one knows the exact date that Devon House was built. It is shown on a city map in 1880, but not on a map in 1850. It is believed the house was built closer to 1880 than to 1850. Unfortunately, it is also not known who built the house nor for whom it was built,” reads the description on Heritage Newfoundland and Labrador.

Around 1891, it was owned by A.M. MacKay, an agent for the Anglo-American Telegraph Company, the real estate listing says, citing a Newfoundland Quarterly article.

The listing notes Mackay was instrumental in repairing the cross-Newfoundland lines and the Gulf cable and relaying the Trans-Atlantic cable. He is also credited for helping to introduce electricity to the island and for installing the first telephone in 1878. MacKay served in the House of Assembly from 1878-89.

The Templeman family — a second home as patriarch Phillip was a merchant in Bonavista — occupied the house from around the 1890s to the 1920s, according to the heritage site. Another family, the Pinsents, lived there in the 1930s.

The Canadian Red Cross owned it for 30 years, beginning in the 1940s. It later housed a youth hostel and an accounting firm, the heritage site said.

 Devon House became a registered heritage structure with the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador in 1992 and has won a Southcott Award from the Newfoundland Historic Trust.

O’Dea noted the structure cannot be altered on the outside without heritage vetting by the city.

Almost all the interest so far has been from commercial interests.

He said he expects Devon House to sell quickly once the right buyer comes along.

O’Dea said Devon House has been a great home to the craft council but the organization indicated another facility would better meet its growing needs.

The relocation is contingent on the sale of the building.

A call was made to the craft council and The Telegram is awaiting comment.

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