Keneally House (Carbonear)

Keneally House was built by one of the richest, most influential and ultimately, most tragic families of Carbonear of the nineteenth century.

Keneally House, Carbonear, before restoration
Keneally House, Carbonear, NL, before Restoration
While a duplex was unusual, a usual feature of outport houses at the time was a linhay and this house has two, one for each half of the dwelling.
© 1998 Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador

The first Keneally of Carbonear was James, who was born in Cork in 1790. Arriving in Newfoundland in 1815, he became extensively involved in the fishery. His wife, Johanna, owned and operated a dry goods store on Water Street.

After proving successful in both enterprises, the Keneally family bought a parcel of land on Patrick Street to build a house. No one knows exactly when it was constructed, but estimates put the date between 1839 and 1849. Once it was completed, James and his wife moved in along with their children, John, James and Catherine.

The Keneally family grew quickly during this time. John lived in one side of the house with his wife and eight children. His brother, James, also married and lived in the other side of the house with his wife and three children. The senior James Keneally passed away in 1862, and Catherine passed away in the early 1880s.

The Keneallys were all successful schooner captains and for years business went well. But tragedy struck the family. James Keneally owned a 70-ton schooner called The Rose. In October 1877, the vessel was lost in a violent storm while Keneally was returning home to Carbonear from Azzize's Harbour in Labrador.

The loss of The Rose was a tragedy for the Keneally family and all of Carbonear. James drowned, along with his wife, their two children and 30 passengers. The Keneally's third child, Maurice, had been left at home in the care of relatives.

After the loss of The Rose, John and his family continued to live in the house, but no member of the family ever occupied the other side of the house.

After the loss to the Keneally family, parts of the house were rented out to various members of the community, including a Dr. A. D. Boyle, who operated his surgery from a room on the second floor.

Keneally House, Carbonear, after restoration
Keneally House, Carbonear, NL, after Restoration
The house is an unusual example of a Second Empire duplex. It is the only house of this style in the area and is one of the oldest houses still standing in Carbonear.
© 2004 Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador

After John Keneally and his wife died in the 1920s, the house was given to their son, John, who never married or had children. Eventually Dick and Kenneth Green obtained and restored the dwelling, and now operate it as a bed and breakfast.

The house is a massive two-sided, mansard double dwelling. It is made of wood; it has a central chimney and stands three storeys high with two dormer windows on the third floor. It has two entrances, reflecting the fact that two tenants normally inhabited the house. It is unique in that it is the only house of this style in the area and is one of the oldest houses still standing in Carbonear.

Keneally House was designated as a Registered Heritage Structure in February 1988. It was also awarded the Southcott Award for heritage restoration by the Newfoundland Historic Trust.

Registered Heritage Structures Table of Contents

Also view the Keneally House Registered Heritage Structure on the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador web site. The Newfoundland and Labrador Heritage Web Site has on its site only a portion of the registered heritage structures in Newfoundland and Labrador. To view a complete list or search for a particular structure visit the Heritage Foundation's Property Search page.