The Payne House was built in 1856 by a member of the Payne family and, because it survived the fire of 1944 which destroyed much of downtown Harbour Grace and because it remained essentially unaltered, it is a very good representative of its period. With its original twelve-pane windows, door and window surrounds, it is the best preserved of a row of houses all dating from about the same time.
At the beginning of the last century, May Sheppard, a daughter of the builder, took possession of the property. Her husband, Ernest Sheppard, opened a cooperage here, making barrels in the outbuildings which once stood below the house at the water's edge. After the Sheppards died the house was sold to an out-of-province resident who used it as a summer home. In 1985 Stephen Payne, a member of the original family, purchased the house.
The foundation is made of stone on three sides. The fourth wall, facing the harbour, is supported by a wooden sill. In the summer of 2000 restoration of the structure began and included work on the roof and the exterior wooden siding.
The Payne House was designated as a Registered Heritage Structure in September 1999.
Also view the Payne 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.