Officers Square

Officers Square

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.

Fredericton Region Museum in Officers Square

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.

soldiers barracks
Soldiers’ Barracks at Queen & Carleton Streets just prior the the British departure (1869). (Photo Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, Taylor Collection.)

The first Officers’ Quarters, originally a wooden structure, was completed in 1786. Fire consumed the building in 1815.

Officers’ Quarters. MIKAN: 3306188

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.

officers square
Officers Square during the flood of 1887. (Photo Provincial Archives of New Brunswick, Taylor Collection.)

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.

barracks_fton
The Barracks Fredericton. MIKAN 3306186

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.

fton_museum

Officers Square is currently a major construction project by the city to modernize the historic site. 

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One thought on “Officers Square

  1. Good morning! I stumbled across this site on Facebook, and of course had to go to the website to read further. What a fascinating read! Thank you for taking the time and devoting your energies to publishing these articles.

    I have one small question and I’m wondering if you can help me with it. I’m wondering where the stone came from for the old officers barracks on Queen Street, at what is now the craft School. Many times I’ve stood on Queen Street staring at this building, no doubt looking like a fool, and marvelling at the actual stone itself and the work it must have taken to a wreck this building. If you could help me out I would certainly appreciate it.
    Thank you.

    Trevor

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