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Gazetteer Applet

Edward Humby Property
(Summerville)

Located in an area of Bonavista Bay frequented by fishermen to obtain timber for ships, Summerville eventually became the home for one of the best groups of shipbuilders in the area, the Humbys.

© 1998 Heritage Foundation
of Newfoundland and Labrador

(33Kb)
Edward Humby built the Humby Premises in 1846. The house and property represent the traditional, self-sufficient Newfoundland fishing homestead. The Humbys cut the wood to build their houses, sheds, flakes, stores and schooners. They also captained the ships they built and sailed to Labrador for the fishery. The family also kept animals for food, tended a garden and cut their own firewood for the winter.

While they were self-sufficient, they were also involved in building ships for other people. Among their regular customers were the Ryans in Bonavista, one of that community's more prominent families.

The premises are easily the oldest standing structures in the community. In 1874 a major fire destroyed most of the buildings in Summerville, leaving many of the community's 300 people homeless. However, the fire left the Humby Premises untouched. The house remained with the Humby family until the 1980s, when it was sold to Heather MacLellan who maintains the premises as a private residence.

During the peak of the Humby family business, the Humby Premises included not only a house, but a barn, twine loft, wood shed and work stores. Only the house and two of the sheds currently remain. Until recently, all were falling into a state of disrepair. The foundation was in such poor shape that the house was on the edge of collapse. However, MacLellan has since restored the dwelling.

The Humbly dwelling is one of the few remaining 1840s hipped-roof vertical studded homes of early outport construction in Newfoundland. The house was built with rectangular double-hung three-over-six and three-over-three windows. Unfortunately, the original windows had to be removed when the house was renovated due to of their poor condition. The house has a wooden post and stone-pillar foundation.

Along with the removal of the windows, the house has also had other alterations over the years. The central chimney was removed and a new section of linhay was added to the house in the 1940s.

The premises were recognised as a Registered Heritage Structure in May 1997.


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