The Sir Albert Smith home in Dorchester has been designated for its association with Sir Albert Smith’s impact on provincial and federal politics, Lady Sarah Marie Young Smith, and Mount Allison University. Additionally, it is recognized for its architectural features and its use as a community development center.
The home is notable for its connection to Sir Albert James Smith, who likely moved into the residence around 1862 after his Cape Road house burned down. Born on May 12, 1822, in Shediac, Westmorland County, Smith became a prominent Dorchester lawyer, politician, ship owner, and businessman. He earned various colorful nicknames throughout his career and was elected Premier of New Brunswick in 1865. Later, he served as a successful federal minister of Marine and Fisheries under the Liberal government of Alexander MacKenzie. In 1877, he negotiated a significant financial compensation for American fisheries in Canadian waters, earning him the first knighthood in the province’s history. Smith also played a key role in bringing a federal penitentiary to Dorchester in 1880. He passed away on June 30, 1883.
The home is also recognized for its association with Sir Smith’s influence on the New Brunswick Liberal Party and Canadian Confederation. Smith was a prominent opponent of Confederation and contributed to delaying it by two years. He was later elected to the House of Commons for Westmorland in 1867.
The Sir Albert Smith Home is further acknowledged for its connection to Lady Sarah Marie Young Smith and Mount Allison University. After marrying Albert James Smith, the widowed Lady Smith and her eccentric descendants amassed a substantial fortune, which was mostly donated to Mount Allison University. This contribution greatly impacted the university’s endowment per student.
The home is also appreciated for its architectural features, believed to have been built circa 1840 by Robert T. Moore. The red Flemish bond brick extension was likely added around 1868 to accommodate Sir Smith’s young wife. While both sections exhibit Georgian style, they are distinct in their respective clapboard and brick exterior cladding.
Lastly, the Sir Albert Smith House is recognized for its role as a community development center. Over the years, it has served as a private home, provincial government offices, penitentiary training facility, arts and culture venue, evangelical retreats center, youth activities hub, and a location for various community events.
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