Hebron Mission National Historic Site of Canada

Hebron, Newfoundland and Labrador
View of Hebron Mission in the distance, showing its isolated setting along the coast of Labrador, in proximity to the sea, 1994. © Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, I.K. MacNeil, 1994.
General view
© Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, I.K. MacNeil, 1994.
General view of Hebron Mission, showing the evenly spaced windows and doors, 1994. © Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, I.K. MacNeil, 1994.Corner view of Hebron Mission, showing the stone foundation and the steep roof, 1994 © Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, I.K. MacNeil, 1994.View of Hebron Mission in the distance, showing its isolated setting along the coast of Labrador, in proximity to the sea, 1994. © Parks Canada Agency / Agence Parcs Canada, I.K. MacNeil, 1994.
Address : Hebron, Newfoundland and Labrador

Recognition Statute: Historic Sites and Monuments Act (R.S.C., 1985, c. H-4)
Designation Date: 1976-11-06
Dates:
  • 1829 to 1837 (Construction)
  • 1829 to 1959 (Significant)

Event, Person, Organization:
  • Church of the Brethren  (Architect)
Other Name(s):
  • Hebron Mission  (Designation Name)
Research Report Number: 1976-029, 2006-SDC-004

Plaque(s)


Approved Inscription:  Newfoundland and Labrador

One of eight Moravian missions established between 1771 and 1904 on the Labrador Coast, the Hebron Mission was founded between 1829 and 1831 by the Moravian Brethren, a Central European Protestant sect. First occupied in 1837, the interconnected wooden church, house, and store have gable roofs and small dormer windows. The building is distinguished by bell- shaped cupolas similar to those found on the Hopedale Mission and other Moravian churches worldwide. Until 1959, the Hebron Mission provided religious instruction to the local Inuit, and was also an educational, commercial, and medical centre.

Description of Historic Place

The surviving elements of Hebron Mission National Historic Site of Canada consist of a long interconnected series of buildings, including a church, mission house, and finally a store. The design has a Germanic flavour characterized by the steep, elongated roof punctuated by small dormer windows. The cupola is typical of church architecture of south-eastern Europe, from whence came the Moravians. Other buildings, including a forge, carpenter’s shop, and other support structures are gone. The official recognition refers to the surviving interconnected buildings on its footprint.

Heritage Value

Hebron Mission was declared a national historic site of Canada in 1976 because: it provided religious instruction to the local Inuit and was also an educational, commercial and medical centre; and, it is a representative example of Moravian mission architecture.

The mission buildings at Hebron, on the northeast coast of Labrador, were erected by the Church of the Brethren, more commonly called the Moravians. This mission was one of several built by the Moravians and it is possible that these buildings were pre-fabricated in Germany and shipped to this location. Construction began in 1829 but the site was not ready for habitation until 1837. The Moravians also engaged in trade, medical practice, and the administration of justice. This mission closed in 1959.

Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada, Minutes, March 2006.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements contributing to the heritage value of this site include: its isolated setting along the coast of Labrador, in proximity to the sea, above the tree line, on a bare site in proximity to the remains of other elements of the mission; the long, connected range of buildings; their construction, on stone foundations and on wooden sills, wood framing with brick infill covered with wood sheathing, the volume, steep roof with dormers and cupola, evenly spaced windows and doors, and any surviving interior spaces and fittings; any surviving archaeological resources related to the mission or to Inuit culture.