Carleton House, situated on Germain Street in Saint John, is recognized as a Local Historic Place due to its architecture and its connection to Lady Alice Tilley and her husband, Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley.
The residential district of Germain Street features many buildings constructed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, as older structures were destroyed in the Great Saint John Fire of 1877. Lady Alice Tilley commissioned the renowned Saint John architect H. H. Mott to design Carleton House in 1888 for herself and her husband. The two-story brick building, characterized by a mansard roof and bay windows, is an outstanding example of Second Empire residential architecture from Saint John’s rebuilding period.
Carleton House is also significant due to its association with Lady Alice Tilley. Born in 1845 in St. Stephen, Alice Starr Chipman was the eldest daughter of ship owner and merchant Zachariah Chipman and his wife Mary Eliza DeWolfe. In October 1867, she married Samuel Leonard Tilley, who became her second husband. Sir Samuel Leonard Tilley, a former Premier of New Brunswick and a Minister of Customs and Minister of Finance, retired from active political life in 1885 due to poor health. He accepted a second term as Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick and settled in Saint John. After his passing in 1896, Lady Tilley continued to live at Carleton House for over two decades.
A dedicated member of the National Council of Women since its inception in 1888, Lady Tilley held the first organizational meeting of the Saint John Council of Women at her Germain Street residence in February 1895. Actively promoting numerous charities and instrumental in establishing the Victorian Order of Nurses in Saint John, she participated in various benevolent societies throughout her life.
In recognition of her philanthropic efforts, Lady Tilley was admitted to the Grand Priory of the Order of the Hospital of Saint John in 1912, becoming a “Lady of Grace.” She resided at her Germain Street home until her death in 1921.
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