During the period of 1812 – 1813, the looming possibility of war with the United States led to the construction of three blockhouses and a garrison in the Town of St. Andrews, intended to accommodate soldiers. This garrison, known as Fort Tipperary, was strategically located atop a hill at the intersection of what are now Adolphus and Prince of Wales Streets.
Despite the fortifications, Fort Tipperary was largely untouched by any major conflict, except perhaps during the Fenian scare in 1866. The apprehension of a potential armed incursion from across the Passamaquoddy Bay momentarily transformed St. Andrews into a heavily fortified town. Its local militia was reinforced by troops from Fredericton and Saint John.
For most of its existence the old fort was a sorry affair, with never enough money to keep it much beyond life support.
By 1902, all that remained of the fort was dismantled when Sir Thomas Shaughnessy, the third president of the Canadian Pacific Railway, elected to construct his summer residence on the site. He purchased the property in 1891, the same year that Sir William Van Horne and Sir Donald Smith also became property owners in St. Andrews. Shaughnessy was instrumental in the Canadian Pacific Railway’s acquisition of the assets of the St. Andrews Land Company, which was responsible for the creation of the Algonquin hotel and golf course. From 1903 to around 1907, he oversaw a comprehensive enhancement of the Land Company’s properties. The Algonquin was enlarged multiple times, a casino and a row of cottages were built, Katy’s Cove was dammed to create a beach for hotel guests, and numerous other improvements were made.
Shaughnessy’s summer home, named Tipperary, was a unique take on the shingle style that was highly popular around the turn of the century. The design was created by Hutchison and Wood from Montreal. In his new home, Sir Thomas integrated several elements from the old fort, including shingles from the previous fort buildings which, after weathering eight decades, were still in outstanding condition. He also arranged cannons and miniature ramparts as a tribute to the original Tipperary.
The Fort Tipperary of today is a reconstruction. The original house burned several years ago when the building was used as part of the culinary course offered at the New Brunswick Community College.
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In October 1945 my Father Reg Brearey and another sailor came to St Andrews by train to assist in the equipping of two minesweepers (256 and 257) they were met at the station by a Lady Shaughnessy in a limo.
On the way to her home at Fort Tipperary they stopped at the Mercury club where she told a Mr. Green the Britishers would be there for dinner and would be staying a few months.
Dad said they were treated first class she paid them to help with the gardening and often treated them to donuts and soda.
She was sending clothes to the two wives in England for the babies, One being me. Dad always remembered her generosity. Eventually they sailed the two M.M.S. back to England and served on them on D Day and the clearing of the Scheldt Estuary