History at a Glance

This section of The Shiretown Blogger is dedicated to preserving the history of the Woodstock area. It is a work in progress.

Connell House

This picture of Connell House was taken circa 1850. (Photo courtesy of the Carleton County Historical Society).
Connell House in April 2010. (Photo taken by Nathan DeLong)

Situated on an elevated lot overlooking the Meduxnekeag River in beautiful downtown Woodstock, the Connell House was built around 1839 for the Honorable Charles Connell. Charles Connell (1810-1873) was a local merchant, as well as a Member of Parliament, an unofficial Father of Confederation, and Postmaster General of New Brunswick. Connell gained notoriety in 1860 when he put his face on a New Brunswick five-cent postage stamp instead of Queen Victoria's. This led to Connell's resignation as the province's postmaster general. He continued to serve as a Member of Parliament until his death in 1873. His wife, the former Ann Fisher, died in 1895. 

In the years following the deaths of Charles Connell and his wife, the house changed hands many times. It was divided into two apartments in 1898, three apartments around 1920, and four apartments around 1960. In May of 1975, Connell House was purchased by the Carleton County Historical Society, which could have saved it from later demolition. The Connell House was designated a National Historic Site in 1976, and the plaque on the front lawn explaining the recognition was installed in 1979. 

Restoring Connell House to anything close to its original configuration was considered a dream come true for the historical society for many years. In 2005, the society determined that the time had come to move forward with an archaeological exploration and restoration of the Connell House. No original blueprints or house plans are known to exist. The society discovered a small, black and white photo of a corner in Connell House, but it was of no assistance to them. With the help of a grant from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, restoration work began in 2007. 

Today, the restored Connell House is the permanent headquarters of the Carleton County Historical Society. It houses a museum and the historical society's archives, and has become a focal point in the community. 
Posted on Thursday, October 13, 2011