|Bay Roberts Heritage Society
Bay Roberts Heritage Society 2014 All rights reserved.
Newfoundland & Labrador
The Cable Building
321 Water Street
N 47.5963, W 53.2543
CABLE BUILDING RESTORATION
The project involved the obtaining, restoring and refurbishing of the former Western Union
Cable Building located on Water Street, Bay Roberts. The purpose was to: a) save a historic
building from destruction, b) provide suitable space and environment for a museum, art
gallery and archives, and c) provide a prestigious Town Hall for the Town of Bay Roberts.
In 1910 the Western Union Telegraph Company of New York selected Bay Roberts as the
landing site for their transatlantic cable. In August of that year the cable ship “Colinia”
commenced to lay the cable from Bay Roberts enroute to Sennen Cove, 10 miles from
Penzance, Cornwall, England. At the same time, work was started on the leg to Coney Island,
New York. In 1913 the present Western Union Cable Building was erected as a new relay
station to house the transmitting equipment for the original lines as well as new lines laid in
After Western Union closed its operation in the sixties, the Avalon North Integrated School
Board occupied the building. When the Board relocated, the building fell into disrepair. By
the early 1990s it was an eyesore and posed a life safety threat as bricks began to fall off the
façade. The Society was successful in obtaining ownership of the property. After preparing
detailed documentation and concept plans and extensive lobbying, Federal funding in the
form of a capital grant from ACOA and a labour grant from HRD was obtained for the building
restoration. Key to the approval was an agreement that the Town would look after
maintenance of the building in return for occupying the Council area at no cost to the Town.
Pictures of the “before” conditions can be viewed on Virtual Museum.ca / The Cable Building
Story. After completion, the building was plaqued as a Provincial Heritage Structure. Later,
the Society received both the Southcott Award and the Manning Award for excellence in
restoration. It is now also a Municipal Heritage Structure and a National Historic Site.
Cable Bldg Entrance