The Thomas Regan Residence located on Orange Street in Saint John is recognized for being a part of the building boom near the turn of the 20th century in Saint John. It is also recognized as a local historic place.
The Great Saint John Fire of 1877 destroyed nearly the entire Central Peninsula of the city and the commercial district of the city was quickly rebuilt. However, many of the residential lots to the south of the commercial district were not immediately built upon due in part to residents building further away from the commercial districts and due to many residents deserting the city in need of immediate employment. In the late 1890’s and early 1900’s, the empty lots were being built upon in a feverish manner. This residence is a good example of Italianate residential architecture from this delayed rebuilding period following the fire.
The Thomas Regan Residence is also recognized for its association with two highly prominent Saint John citizens, H.A. Doherty and Thomas P. Regan. This residence was built in 1892 for Mr. Doherty, a very well known hotel proprietor of Saint John. He first entered the hotel business at ten years of age, working as a clerk at the Stubbs Hotel located on Prince William Street. He later worked for Thomas F. Raymond, proprietor of the Royal Hotel, and rose to chief clerk.
Following T. F. Raymond’s death in 1893, Doherty and Raymond’s nephew, William E. Raymond, joined as partners in the ownership of the hotel under the firm name of Raymond & Doherty. Under Doherty and Raymond’s management, a steam electric plant was installed that provided electricity throughout the hotel and provided power for an electric elevator, one of the first in the province. By the time of Doherty’s death in 1911, the Royal Hotel was nationally acclaimed and served as the traditional meeting spot in the city for businessmen, visiting entertainers and dignitaries in Saint John. Doherty resided at this Orange Street address until 1908, when it was purchased by Thomas P. and Helen M. Regan.
Son of prominent Saint John merchant, Patrick Regan, Thomas was a native of Saint John. He entered the bar of New Brunswick in 1885 and began practising law in the City later in that year. His career as a barrister continued for 67 years, a provincial record at the time of his death. In 1875, he was appointed referee of equity. By 1901, he became deputy registrar of the Supreme Court’s chancery division. Regan became extensively involved in both the local, provincial and national affairs following this appointment. He served as president of the Saint John Opera House for several years. As one of the first automobile owners in New Brunswick, Regan also played a leading role in the development of better roads and motor vehicle legislation in the province and nation. From 1912 to 1940, he was president of the New Brunswick Automobile Association, Director of the Canadian Good Roads Association, and vice president of the Canadian Automobile Association. Regan remained at this Orange Street residence until his death in 1953, and his descendants reside there to the present day.
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