1 Chestnut Place - For Sale





Classic vernacular bungalow, in the form of and inspired by the arts and craft style


Locally designed by Owen Steele, eldest son of James Robert Steele, for whom the house was built by Harvey Thomas in 1949.


Located on the doorstep of Churchill Square in the heart of one of the finest neighbourhoods in St. John’s, this bungalow , held in the same family since its construction 65 years ago awaits , is now awaiting a new owner looking for a home with an aesthetic sensibility and with good “Bones of Steele”.


The recessed entry opens into a spacious front porch, after which you are welcomed through an etched glass door with etched glass side panels, to the wide and spacious from hall. Accommodations quarters are at the right, consisting of three bedrooms plus a nursery / office space, and a spacious living and dining room with double bay windows on the left, with kitchen at the back of the house. The living room fireplace in the craft motif style reflects the art deco influence, with geometric shape and rectilinear symmetry.


There has been some carpet installed, but all original hardwood floors remain and are in great shape


This home takes advantage of exterior light, especially in the bright and spacious living room.


The side garden, facing south has been a very productive space for berries and vegetables and awaits the green thumb to continue on the recent efforts of current resident, Jim Steele.


Asking price for this home to be cherished by a new buyer is $450,000.


Enjoy the remaining photos and the information on the merchant firm S. O. Steele and Sons


For additional information, call Chris O’Dea at 685-6559 (area code 709)


Click thumbnail below to enlarge image:


1 Chestnut
1 Chestnut
From the street sign
Hedged entry
Recessed entry
Side entrance with garage door replaced with pedestrian door
Sunny side
Spring garden on Southern side
Spring garden
Entry from porch
Front Hall
Original etched glass entry
Spacious front hall
Living Room
Living Room
Living Room
Looking to living room from dining room
Arched entry to hallway
Art deco style fireplace
Dining Room
Plaster cornice
Sunny property
1 Chestnut survey


S.O. Steele and Sons


S.O. Steele & Sons Ltd. was established by Samuel Owen Steele in 1899 at 100 Water Street, St. John's. Steele came to Newfoundland from England in the 1880s, and established a furniture and dry goods business in St. John's. In 1886, he married Sarah Harris, niece of James Hunt Martin and his wife Hannah (Tucker) Martin. James Martin had come to Newfoundland from England in the first half of the 19th century and subsequently established a hardware store on Water Street, called Martin Royal Stores. Hannah Martin opened a china shop nearby circa 1848. The china shop was destroyed in the great fire of 1892, but Hannah rebuilt it in 1894. Their children having died young, James and Hannah adopted Sarah Harris. After Hannah died intestate in 1899, Sarah inherited the china shop, thus making way for S.O. Steele & Sons Ltd. Hannah had operated the shop as a part-time concern but S.O. Steele made it a full-time business by developing a wholesale trade, importing china from Staffordshire, Stoke-on-Trent, Europe, and later, Japan. He was not the only importer of china in St. John's; both Ayre and Knowling provided fierce competition in the trade.


In the first decade of the twentieth century, S.O. Steele's two eldest sons (of ten children, five boys and five girls), Owen William and James Robert, began working in the store. When war broke out in 1914, both joined the Royal Newfoundland Regiment. Owen Steele was killed at Beaumont Hamel, but James Robert survived and returned to resume his position in the family business. S.O. Steele and Sarah retired to Paignton, Devon, England in the early 1920s, passing the firm to James Robert and Victor, another son. The firm survived the depression of the 1930s and, like many others, thrived during World War II with increased business stemming from the establishment of military bases in Newfoundland and the great influx of foreign military personnel to St. John's. By the 1940s, the next generation of Steele's were coming of age, but it was James Harris Steele, the second son of James Robert, who entered the business, to work along with his father and uncle.


The next couple of decades were also prosperous but, by the late 1960s, large chain stores were supplanting outport merchants, S.O. Steele's chief wholesale customers. Despite the decline, S.O Steele & Sons Ltd. survived by developing a strong retail trade to complement the wholesale business. This shift prompted the firm to import more expensive china which was of less value to the outport market. James Robert Steele died in 1970, and Victor retired in 1976, leaving James to operate the business. When James retired in 1989, the family made a unanimous decision to close the business.




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