The Alexander “Boss” Gibson Home, built by Henry Pickard in 1864 for local lumber industry magnate Alexander “Boss” Gibson, holds a Local Historic Place designation due to its ties with the Gibson family. Located at 185 Canada Street, this house was the residence of Gibson, who was instrumental in the industrial growth of the former town of Marysville, now a part of Fredericton. Gibson resided in this house until 1866, after which he constructed a grand mansion in the region known as “Nob Hill.” From atop “Nob Hill,” Gibson could overlook the Nashwaak River, his cotton mill, and the numerous tenement houses he had built for his workers and their families.
This home’s significance is also tied to its location on Canada Street. Gibson’s 1862 purchase of Rankin’s Mill included a grist mill, a blacksmith’s shop, a supervisor’s cottage, a store, and several workers’ homes. Concurrently with the construction of Gibson’s house, twenty additional dwellings were erected for his employees along Canada Street. This housing initiative marked the commencement of a community building surge that spanned almost two decades.
Known as “the big house” by Marysville locals, the original Gibson Mansion was constructed in the 1860s. Mrs. Gibson worked in collaboration with architect Matthew Stead, who also designed the local church, to achieve a Gothic Victorian aesthetic. The house featured a ballroom that spanned its entire length, a spiraling staircase that ascended to the third floor, and a marble fountain in the grounds.
In the expansive parlors and grounds, Mrs. Gibson would host guests, with evenings often concluding with fireworks. The Fredericton Brass band performed at several events. Among the notable guests were Prime Minister John A. MacDonald and the Lieutenant Governor, who often brought distinguished visitors.
A fire on the afternoon of June 6, 1914, however, resulted in the complete destruction of this iconic house associated with the late Boss Gibson. Spectators gathered to watch as the historic landmark was engulfed in flames and reduced to ruins.
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