THIS TWO-AND-A-HALF-STOREY establishment was built in 1850 when St. John’s was a bustling mercantile town of approximately 10,000 residents. It was a practical structure designed to provide living space on the second floor for the owners of the companies that resided below. Because of its location on the far western end of Water Street, the building escaped the Great Fire of 1892 which destroyed much of downtown St. John’s. The first commercial enterprise to operate from the building was a tavern, in the 1860s; it ran successfully for about 30 years until purchased by a man who ran a saloon at the location. In 1928, the building was taken over by the Canadian Marconi Company for approximately 10 years. It’s only from that point forward that photos are available, documenting its rich commercial history. Thanks to Dale Jarvis and staff of The Rooms for their help in compiling this information.
IN 1936, W.G. Stephens operated Mammy’s Bakery and retail store (pictured below, left). The business delivered bread in St. John’s by a fleet of white trucks and horse-drawn bakery wagons. In the 1940s, a Mr. Morrissey bought the structure and sold provisions and groceries until the late ’60s or early ’70s (pictured below, right).
CIRCA 1990: Rosemill Antiques opened its doors at this location, later moving up the road to 556 Water Street.
IN RECENT YEARS, numbers retailers have rotated their way through the building at the corner of Water and Patrick streets, including Sparkly Apparel, Bi Per Sports and Lodestone Group.
AS OF NOW, 562-564 Water Street occupies the beauty bar, Ruby Rose, a one-stop-shop for everyone’s ‘beauty needs’. They provide services such as manicures, spray tans, and waxings. Pictured below right, Ruby Rose employees, Anna Montgomery and Amy Mayo give each other manicures between appointments.
Premises is a new department profiling historic Atlantic Canadian buildings and the businesses that have made their home there. Suggestions are welcome.