Situated in Fredericton’s Historic Garrison District, the Officers Quarters building, which now hosts the Fredericton Region Museum, serves as the focal point of the Military Compound.
Established in 1785, the British Government initially set up this array of buildings in Central New Brunswick to serve as the main hub for their military undertakings. Out of the numerous original buildings, only four stand today: the Soldiers’ Barracks, the Guardhouse, the Officers’ Quarters, and the Militia Stores Building. It gained the honor of becoming the first among three buildings to be declared as National Historic Sites in 1964.
The first Officers’ Quarters, originally a wooden structure, was completed in 1786. Fire consumed the building in 1815.
In 1816, a newer wooden edifice took the place of the original building. To protect the whole structure from the devastation of potential fires, firewalls were put in place, which demonstrated their effectiveness in 1837 when a fire broke out, only damaging the river-end part of the building. Between 1839 and 1841, the damaged area housing the mess kitchen and hall underwent reconstruction using stone sourced from Rainsford Quarry.
A decade later, another section of the building transitioned to stone construction, now acting as the museum’s entrance. The two-phase stone construction project, separated by ten years, concluded in 1853. The wooden Officers’ residential quarters, located at the Queen Street end of the stone structure, stood from 1816 to 1925. It was ultimately demolished due to deterioration, with the foundation of the original wooden married quarters found between the building and Queen Street.
From their construction until 1869, British army officers occupied these stone and wooden structures. From 1883 to 1914, the Royal Canadian Regiment’s officers, Canada’s inaugural permanent military unit, resided in these buildings. Following its seven-year tenure as an army training base during and after World War I, the New Brunswick Liquor Commission and other governmental bodies took over the stone building until the York Sunbury Museum moved in during the early 1960s.
Officers Square is currently a major construction project by the city to modernize the historic site.
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