18 Roberts Street in downtown Ladysmith was built circa 1905 and is known to local architectural historians as the Music Hall Building. It is currently occupied by Maya Norte, a Mexican restaurant.
18 Roberts Street was built circa 1905 by John Stewart, a Past Master of St. John’s Lodge No. 21, who used the building for his business as a notary public, real estate agent and insurance agent. John Stewart also served as a Justice of the Peace, Ladysmith’s first City Clerk, City Magistrate and Secretary of the Board of Trade (now the Chamber of Commerce).
Prior to building 18 Roberts Street, John Stewart had used 28 Roberts Street as his business location.
18 Roberts Street was placed on the Canadian Register of Historic Places in 2014.
Here is a map showing the location of 18 Roberts Street:
Here is a Google Street View image of 18 Roberts Street:
Description of Historic Place
The Music Hall Building is a small, one-storey Boomtown style building located between two major thoroughfares in the commercial district of Ladysmith, British Columbia. The historic place is confined to the building footprint.
Built around 1905, the Music Hall Building is an excellent example of a simple, vernacular Boomtown or false-front style structure. Until the erection of more substantial and sophisticated buildings in the area over the next few decades, Ladysmith’s first commercial buildings were typically wood framed and clad, and false fronted. Boomtown fronts made buildings appear more substantial and provided a convenient area for signage, while large front windows provided space for the display of goods. The building is substantially intact.
The Music Hall Building is significant for its association with prominent early resident John Stewart. In addition to being a notary public, real estate agent and insurance broker, Stewart was very active in civic affairs, serving as the first City Clerk, a Justice of the Peace, City Magistrate and Secretary to the Board of Trade. Stewart, and other professional and entrepreneurial men like him, was instrumental in directing Ladysmith’s early growth and development.
The Music Hall Building is part of a group of heritage buildings in this section of the commercial district.
Symbolizing Ladysmith’s very earliest commercial development, the Music Hall Building has been in use for over a century and adds significantly to the heritage character of the street.
The character-defining elements of the Music Hall Building include:
- – all of the elements of its vernacular architecture as expressed in the wood siding, Boomtown false-front façade, simple cornice, inset double front entry door with transom and large mullioned window
- – the building’s small scale and simple form and massing
- – the building’s location within a group of heritage buildings on a commercial street in the downtown core
- – the building’s continuous commercial use for over a century