201 Water Street is a 3 storey commercial vernacular style building located in the heart of downtown St. John’s, NL. This structure is part of the municipally designated block of buildings 187-205 Water Street. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
Statement of Significance
Formal Recognition Type
City of St. John's Heritage Building, Structure, Land or Area
201 Water Street has been designated a municipal heritage building by the City of St. John’s for its aesthetic and historical values.
201 Water Street is aesthetically valuable as an example of a turn of the 20th century mercantile/office building in downtown St. John’s. The first storey of this building was traditionally used for mercantile premises. The additional storeys were used as office space, sometimes for the business below, other times rented to others. The use of the building as a commercial building is evident in the traditional store front that features large plate glass windows with fascia board and a recessed doorway. Furthermore, the brick construction of 201 Water Street is typical for downtown St. John’s buildings built after the fire of 1892. This building, like all the others in this block, also feature some elements of classical revival such as pilasters and arched windows.
201 Water Street is historically valuable because of its associations with the Perlin family. The original owners of this building, Israel and Frank Perlin, were Russian immigrants who began a wholesale and retail business from this address. They began the business on Water Street in 1893, but eventually moved away from the retail end to become a major wholesale dry goods operation. Israel Perlin was well known locally as a Jew and his firm employed early Jewish immigrants as coastal peddlers. Israel Perlin was the founder of the Jewish community in St. John’s and the first meetings of the congregation were held in this building.
Source: City of St. John’s Archives, unnumbered property file, St. John’s – Nautical Nellies
Character Defining Elements
All elements that embody the commercial vernacular style, including:
-large plate glass windows with fascia board;
-decoration and fenestration of windows;
-original commercial entrance with double doors, transom and sidelights;
-pilasters from the second to third floor of the building; and
-second entrance with a recessed doorway.
Pilasters from the second to third floor of the building Second entrance with a recessed doorway
Location and History
City of St. John's
201 Water Street
1892 - 1893
Rectangular Short Façade