John Kelly, Saint John builder, constructed a number of brick tenements in the Marysville area of Fredericton known as Brick Hill. This mill-town Italianate, two-storey, red-brick dwelling, situated 8 Downing Street and located in the heart of Brick Hill, was constructed in 1889.
The heritage value of this brick tenement building is associated with the continued development of Alexander “Boss” Gibson’s company town at Marysville, now a part of the City of Fredericton. The construction of this and several other brick tenements on Brick Hill in 1889 reflects the demand for additional housing as both the population increased and the workforce of the cotton mill expanded. Between 1884 and 1900, 55 brick residences were erected in Marysville in close proximity to the mill.
Built as a single family home, this two-storey structure was one of three tenements converted into duplexes in 1917. This conversion reflected the localized housing shortage immediately following the conclusion of the First World War.
This brick dwelling is significant not only for its location on Brick Hill, but also for its construction by builder John Kelly. Brick Hill, the residential area bounded by upper Bridge Street, Coronation Street and Downing Street, was so-named because of the preponderance of red-brick dwellings. For earlier building phases, Alexander “Boss” Gibson had hired B. Mooney & Sons, the Saint John firm which constructed the cotton mill, to construct workers’ houses. However, for this later residential building boom, “Boss” Gibson hired John Kelly. Kelly employed the same mill-town Italianate style used in the previous buildings.