Our Wooden Homes – Bell Island, NL

When European’s first re-discovered North America on the Great Northern Peninsula at L’Anse Aux Meadows some 1,000+ years ago homes were built with sod. As society progressed we adopted wooden structures to create the traditional salt-box home. Very seldom will you see a home built of stone in Newfoundland & Labrador. This is a stark contrast from many parts of Europe. At the time I did not realize how big a deal this was, until one of my friends said you have to make sure we get an image of this outer building so I can show my friends how stick homes are constructed.

The image above is a testament to maintain elements of past heritage pieces, incorporating them into a modern home. The bright red clapboard and the glass sun room to the porch was common in the past. This home is much larger and also shows the change in transportation as the garage will house several vehicles, in the past a fishing room and stages would be needed to store gear, nets and fish.

As we advance into the 21st century we are seeing larger homes and less of the traditional salt-box style or the vernacular architecture of the past. However, one thing remains quite common – we continue to use wood to build our homes.

We need a Provincial Strategy in place to ensure that we utilize our forestry resources that are sustainably managed through a total annual allowable cut under the Forest Management Plan. Fundamentally, we need to make an effort to purchase and utilize more locally produced lumber and other timber products. We need to stimulate an industry in this province that was dependent on news print and wood fibre as the current global marketplace is not interested in what we are selling. More consideration should be placed on local jobs, local marketplace – as with any natural resource of this great province.

Bell Island is home to some remarkable vernacular architecture. I also recommend one to visit Conche, Englee, Croque and St. Julien’s on the Great Northern Peninsula.

Live Rural NL

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

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