Built in 1914, the John Chesley Residence on Clarendon Street in Saint John is designated a Local Historic Place.
The John Chesley Residence is recognized as a part of the Douglas Avenue Preservation Area. Douglas Avenue Preservation Area was recognized as a protected historic streetscape because of its fine mixture of working class tenements along with more substantial homes of the middle and wealthy classes, many of which have long-standing family connections spanning multiple generations. Douglas Avenue is known for its community atmosphere created, in part, by the spacious lawn frontage, making it a choice location for suburban living in the late 1800’s. Douglas Avenue was built in the mid 1850’s to connect Main Street with the newly constructed suspension bridge at Reversing Falls.
Clarendon Street branches off of Douglas Avenue and the first block was included in this preservation area because of its fine display of Craftsman and Arts and Crafts homes intertwined with other post-Victorian homes. The John Chesley Residence is an excellent example of Craftsman residential architecture within this district.
The John Chesley Residence is also recognized for its association with Agnes Collins and for its connection with the Parish of St. Peter’s. Most homes on Clarendon Street were built on lands formerly owned by St. Peters Parish. This home was built for Agnes Collins. She occupied part of the home while renting out the other part of the home to John C. Chesley. Agnes was a devote Catholic and an active member of the Married Women’s Holy Family, the Catholic Women’s League and other church organizations. She was a faithful member of St. Peter’s parish.
The John Chesley Residence is also recognized for its association with John Carey Chesley. He was an agent for the Federal Department of Marine and Fisheries for 24 years. He was responsible for the maintenance of navigational aids in the Bay of Fundy area. His duties were very important to Saint John’s reputation as a safely accessible port, and many of the improvements affected in navigation guides in this district during his tenure as agent were made on his recommendation.
In social circles, he was a great baseball player for the Acadia University team and was a key figure for the advancement of sport in Saint John. He served for many years on the Saint John Boxing Commission and was its chairman for 6 years.
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