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.
This brick tenement building is of historical importance due to its association with the expansion of Alexander “Boss” Gibson’s company town, Marysville, which is now part of Fredericton. Its construction, along with several other brick tenements on Brick Hill in 1889, indicates the need for more housing as the town’s population and the cotton mill’s workforce grew. Between 1884 and 1900, a total of 55 brick homes were built in Marysville, all in close proximity to the mill.
Originally constructed as a single-family house, this two-storey structure was among three tenements that were converted into duplexes in 1917. This change reflected the local housing shortage following the end of World War I.
The brick dwelling is notable not only for its position on Brick Hill but also for being constructed by John Kelly. Brick Hill, the residential area bordered by upper Bridge Street, Coronation Street, and Downing Street, earned its name from the majority of its red-brick houses. For earlier construction phases, Alexander “Boss” Gibson had engaged B. Mooney & Sons, the Saint John firm that built the cotton mill, to construct workers’ homes. However, during this later residential expansion, “Boss” Gibson enlisted John Kelly, who continued to use the mill-town Italianate style present in previous buildings.
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