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Construction Materials

A distinguishing feature of the majority of houses in Newfoundland is their wooden construction. The reason for this goes back to the seventeenth century. When settlers first landed on our shores they could not ignore the abundance of lumber around them. The style at the time in Europe was to build with lumber so these New World settlers also built their houses of wood.

Availability of wood was not the only reason why they chose lumber as the best material. Building a stone or brick house required a great deal of time and money, neither of which was available to most settlers. To build a stone or brick house required special skills and many months of dry warm weather which Newfoundland does always enjoy. As well, bricks had to be shipped from England in order to have them as a building material. Stone was not an acceptable building material either, because the settlers would have to locate and operate an accessible quarry.

(1st generation house & 2nd generation house)
Reproduced by permission of David Mills. From John J. Mannion, ed., The Peopling of Newfoundland: essays in historical geography, Social and Economic Papers series; No. 8 (St. John's, Newfoundland: Institute of Social and Economic Research, Memorial University of Newfoundland, © 1977) 84, 89.

(3rd generation house & 4th generation house)
Reproduced by permission of the Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, St. John's, Newfoundland. From Dale Jarvis, ed., Heritage Inventory of the Bonavista Peninsula: preliminary Inventory report of selected pre-1920 structures in the Bonavista Peninsula area, vol. 1 (St. John's, Newfoundland: Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador, © 1995) 303, 122.

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