(295-301 Water Street, St. John's)
© 1998 Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador
Built in the mid-nineteenth century, the stone and mortar O'Dwyer Block was one of St. John's earliest major merchant buildings not made of wood. The structure is a classical commercial block constructed after the St. John's fire of 1846. Prominent Waterford merchant Richard O'Dwyer built it for his offices and retail stores with sufficient space to accommodate other merchants. O'Dwyer also built the nearby Murray Premises as a warehouse storage area.
The structure was one of the few to survive the Great Fire of July 8, 1892 that ravaged much of St. John's. Over the years the structure housed many businesses and at one point was a hotel. In 1916 the Bank of Nova Scotia demolished the eastern portion of the building to make room for their quarters.
The O'Dwyer Block was identified as a Registered Heritage Structure by the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland in October 1988. This structure was also awarded the Southcott Award for heritage restoration by the Newfoundland Historic Trust.