The Arthur McDonald Residence, situated at 108 Douglas Avenue in Saint John, stands as a testament to the sophisticated late 18th and early 19th century homes lining Douglas Avenue. Previously known as Douglas Road, the avenue was part of the Town of Portland before its amalgamation with the City of Saint John in 1889.
Between 1869 and 1881, significant improvements in the area led to considerable progress, culminating in Douglas Avenue becoming a highly accommodating thoroughfare by 1886. While most of the older structures on Douglas Avenue were built between 1870 and 1900, some predate this period and have been preserved until today. The Arthur McDonald Residence exemplifies small-scale Gothic Revival residential architecture that has persisted throughout Douglas Avenue’s development.
The residence is also notable for its connection to the McDonald family. Arthur McDonald commissioned its construction around 1862. He initially worked in the dry goods sector under John Gillis before transitioning to the shipbuilding industry. In the early 1850s, McDonald entered into a partnership with renowned shipbuilder John McDonald. By 1856, the partnership had dissolved, and Arthur McDonald established his own prosperous shipbuilding business on Straight Shore Road. He lived in his Douglas Avenue residence until his death in 1874, after which his wife, Elizabeth McDonald, continued to reside there with their son, Charles McDonald.
Charles McDonald served as the managing director of the Saint John Iron Works and chaired the Saint John Board of Trade taxation committee. His overall accomplishments in business and industry led to his election as vice-president of the New Brunswick branch of the Canadian Manufacturing Association.
He also served as governor and later president of Wiggin’s Male Orphan Institution, as well as director of the Turnbull Home. Following his mother’s death in 1908, McDonald remained in the residence until he passed away in 1955.
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