Constructed in 1914, the John Chesley Residence on Clarendon Street in Saint John is recognized as a Local Historic Place for its architectural and historical significance.
The residence is part of the Douglas Avenue Preservation Area, which is known for its protected historic streetscape that includes a mix of working-class tenements and more substantial homes belonging to the middle and wealthy classes. Douglas Avenue, built in the mid-1850s, is notable for its community atmosphere and spacious lawn frontage, making it a popular location for suburban living in the late 1800s.
Clarendon Street, branching off of Douglas Avenue, is included in the preservation area due to its impressive display of Craftsman and Arts and Crafts homes alongside other post-Victorian residences. The John Chesley Residence stands as an excellent example of Craftsman residential architecture within this district.
The residence also holds significance for its association with Agnes Collins and its connection to the Parish of St. Peter’s. Most homes on Clarendon Street were built on land formerly owned by St. Peter’s Parish. Agnes Collins, a devout Catholic and active church member, had this home built and rented part of it to John C. Chesley.
Additionally, the John Chesley Residence is recognized for its association with John Carey Chesley, an agent for the Federal Department of Marine and Fisheries for 24 years. He was responsible for maintaining navigational aids in the Bay of Fundy area, which was crucial for Saint John’s reputation as a safely accessible port. Chesley was also a prominent figure in local sports, having played baseball for the Acadia University team and serving on the Saint John Boxing Commission for many years.
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