The Alphaeus Barbour Home is one of two heritage homes at the Barbour Living Heritage Village, Newtown, It was built by the Barbours, one of the most prominent sealing families in Newfoundland.
The house was originally built for Captain Alphaeus Barbour, one of Benjamin Barbour’s grandsons. Construction was started in 1904 and did not finish until 1907. In 1925, the house was sold to Samuel Barbour and eventually passed to Samuel’s son, Edward. The house remained in the Barbour family until 1993, when it was purchased by the Cape Freels Heritage Trust, Inc.
Fourteen of the descendants of Benjamin Barbour became captains and ten of those were sealing captains. The Barbours were also involved in trades outside the sealing industry. Most were involved in the fishery, especially the Labrador fishery. They also established and maintained a business in Newtown until the 1960’s, as well as in St. John’s, the capital city. During the Barbours’ peak business era, the shoreline near the house was completely developed with storehouses, fishing stages, wharves, liver factory, and a general store. These business ventures made the Barbours vital to the economic well-being of the small community of less than 600 residents.
The Alphaeus Barbour House is a three-storeyed wooden house in a Queen Anne Revival style that was popular with the Newfoundland merchant at that time, especially in St. John’s. The house is a timber-framed structure built mainly of pine. It has bay windows, floral glass works and a tower on a corner section. One of the most intricately-designed houses on the north side of Bonavista Bay, it has been the subject of paintings by famed Newfoundland painter, David Blackwood.
The house became a Registered Heritage Structure in 1986 and was presented with the Southcott Award for heritage preservation and restoration in 1998. Today it is a major part of the Barbour Living Heritage Village with guided tours provided during the tourist season.