The St. Andrews Civic Trust (SACT) was founded in 1973. One of its main functions is to offer advice to historic home and building owners who want to make improvements and, at the same time, maintain the character defining elements which are specific to the architectural period of their building. The handbook was first published in 1980, in celebration of the Bicentennial of Saint Andrews. It was, and remains a guide for building owners who seek to preserve or rehabilitate their properties. In addition, it is an educational tool for people interested in the architectural history of Saint Andrews.
Saint Andrews has long been recognized provincially and nationally for its architectural heritage. There are few, if any locations in Canada that have such a high percentage of historic buildings in such a relatively small geographic area. Within the Town Plat, many of the structures are over two hundred years old. Furthermore, another forty-eight structures are over one hundred years old.
All buildings shown in the Handbook are located in Saint Andrews. They have been chosen as examples of the character defining elements found in buildings of the Architectural Style that it represents in Saint Andrews.
The first edition of the St. Andrews Heritage Handbook was designed as an easily accessible resource that describes the most common heritage architectural styles in Saint Andrews, NB. The characteristics of each style were identified and, most importantly, suggestions were offered on appropriate methods and tactics for owners who seek to conserve or rehabilitate their heritage properties. In the revised second edition, the intent is to identify character defining elements for each architectural style and to offer insights for common or expected situations that may be encountered in preserving and rehabilitating heritage buildings as owners or as contractors. A secondary goal is to provide helpful descriptions and illustrations for visitors or history buffs coming to Saint Andrews, while also ensuring that the Handbook’s primary purpose is achieved.
There were three distinct periods of change and prosperity that characterise the Town’s evolution over the past two hundred and fifty years. These periods define the drivers of Saint Andrews’ architectural development – the arrival of the Loyalists; the evolution of Saint Andrews as a prosperous seaport in the 1800s; and the rebirth of the Town as a resort (helped in no small manner, by the promotion of the location by the Canadian Pacific Railway). Subject to each surge of development, distinct and temporarily defined architectural styles arose. These three phases of development tell a story of what and when, as one walks the town.
The Loyalists brought New England style buildings – in some cases literally – by boat and then reassembling their deconstructed homes. In the next phase, an export economy provided the financial means for the merchants and business leaders of a prosperous seaport to express their new success in the architectural style of their homes. Following the down turn in its fortune in the 1880s, the town remained attractive given its surroundings. The economic outlook changed with the coming of summer visitors of considerable wealth at the turn of the 20th century. Families sought relief from the heat of Canadian cities like Montreal and Ottawa and Philadelphia, New York and Washington along the American eastern seaboard (before air conditioning). The cooler weather, the absence of hay fever and the area’s natural beauty led to a new period of architectural development. Wealthy people sought the advice and design of well-known architects in Canada and the USA. Notably, the impact of the Maxwell brothers’ designs is everywhere, from the Saint Andrews peninsula over to Minister’s Island and out into the county. To appreciate the variety of treasures left, one only has to walk the Town’s Streetscapes, as beautifully described by Leroux and Holownia. They note that the Town has been left with ‘a profound legacy’.
This is just an introduction to the programs and services offered by the St. Andrews Civic Trust. To see a full suite of offerings, please go to our website.