Description of Historic Place
William J. Scarr completed the construction of this one-and-a-half storey, wood-framed dwelling in 1896. This dwelling, which features elements of Queen Anne Revival and Classical Revival architecture, is situated on the west side of Westmorland Street between Saunders and Aberdeen streets in Fredericton.
The dwelling located at 327 Westmorland Street is designated a Local Historic Place for its architecture and for its association builder William J. Scarr.
This dwelling was the first Scarr cottage erected by prominent local building contractor, William J. Scarr. A prolific house builder, Scarr would eventually construct nine other dwellings patterned after this premier cottage. These houses, which all still stand on Westmorland and Saunders streets, were completed between 1895 and 1901.
William J. Scarr began his building career in the 1870s, and he was part of the large construction crew which in 1878 erected the second Exhibition Building after the first Exhibition Palace went up in flames in 1877. With construction work in short supply during the early 1880s, the enterprising Scarr moved to Stanley, York County, and operated a saw mill with Alexander Boyd. After the mill burned in 1884, Scarr returned to Fredericton and began to earn a reputation as a master builder. Capitalizing on Fredericton’s growth and development during the 1890s, Scarr began to speculate in the building trade. Scarr orchestrated his own building boom at the back of town, constructing houses which included all the modern conveniences.
In 1896, when Scarr completed the first of his signature style cottages, Alexander Boyd, former mill partner and Scarr’s brother-in-law, promptly purchased the dwelling.
Scarr’s speculative real estate strategy was largely successful, but he suffered heavy financial losses when his cottages did not sell immediately. Unable to satisfy the demands of his creditors, Scarr slipped out of town with his oldest son in 1901, never to return to Fredericton. Scarr moved to the west, settling first in British Columbia and then in Alberta, continuing to work in the building trade. William J. Scarr left an indelible imprint on the Fredericton housing landscape, and his legacy is embodied in the Scarr cottages.
Source: City of Fredericton, Local Historic Places file, "327 Westmorland Street"
The character-defining elements identified for the Scarr cottage located at 327 Westmorland Street include:
- one-and-a-half storey, “L” plan, wood-framed dwelling;
- Queen Anne Revival and Classical Revival style elements;
- medium-pitched gable roof with returned eaves;
- roof line of north side of dwelling broken by a gable-roofed dormer;
- large rectangular single, double and triple windows with simple surrounds and entablatures;
- enclosed entry porch with low-sloped shed roof.