Placentia Area Historical Society

P.O. Box 233 Placentia, NF A0B 2Y0 (709) 227-5568

Formed in 1937
Non Profit Incorporation 1972
Registered as a charitable organization in Canada in 1992

2001-2002 Executive:

Charmaine Cooney - President

Kenneth Flynn - Vice-President

Robert Chubbs - Treasurer

Amanda Crompton - Secretary

One of Newfoundland’s first historical society’s was founded in 1937 by a group of concerned citizens who wanted to preserve and promote the local history. Over the years members of the Society researched and collected local history. The members of the Historical Society strongly influenced the development of local history. The present day Placentia Area Historical Society was incorporated in March 1972 and includes all the local communities from Ship Harbour to Point Verde.

The Society has lobbied for:

The establishment of Castle Hill National Historic Park

Placentia’s Tricentennial Celebrations

Placentia’s first Museum

Resettlement - A House Divided Exhibit (opened in 1995)

Creation of a historical Web Site for Placentia

Creation of a local print file

The preservation of built heritage

Protection and commemoration of Fort Frederick site

Protection and commemoration of Fort Louis site

A museum in Argentia

Protection of 201 gun bunker at Fort McAndrew, Argentia.

The preservation of archaeological sites

Historic Conservation Area in the Town of Placentia Town Plan.

Registration of these built heritage structures Rosedale Manor, O’Reilly House Museum and St. Luke’s Church

Town scaping for the Town of Placentia

Creation of the Tourism Industry Association

Johnston Family Foundation Story board

Newfoundland Archaeological Heritage Outreach Program Annual Conference (held April 2001)

2004 - 500 anniversary of the French

Creation of the Heritage Advisory Committee formally the Placentia Historic Trust

Archaeological digs in the Placentia area


The Society is active in:

Operating O’Reilly House Museum

Preservation of Historical Artifacts

Delivering a Historic Walking Tour of Placentia

Maintaining Placentia the Early Years Web Site

Town of Placentia Town Scaping

Sponsoring research and restoration projects

Protecting historically significant sites

Acknowledging local projects and individuals who promote and protect local history/heritage

through the "Placentia Area Historical Society’s Heritage Award"

Protecting Built Heritage

Sponsoring archaeological studies and surveys - "Placentia Uncovered Archaeology Project" Hosting travelling exhibits

Restoration of the Placentia Court House

Commemoration activities and committee involvement to mark the 100th Anniversary of the O’Reilly House Museum and the Court House in 2002

In the mid-seventies a group of Society members opened a temporary community museum. Members were later successful in establishing and operating a community museum, "O’Reilly House Museum" The Society gives individual or group tours, and provides information of a historical nature. This service is available to school children and the general public on a regular basis. As well, a historical walking tour of Placentia is based out of O’Reilly House Museum which runs during the summer months.

The Society is a member of:

Association of Heritage Industries - President sits on the provincial executive and chairs a subcommittee

Newfoundland Historical Society

Newfoundland Historic Trust

Museum Association of Newfoundland and Labrador

Canadian Museum Association

Canadian Heritage Society

Archives of Newfoundland and Labrador Association

Genealogical Society of Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland Archeological Heritage Outreach Program - NAHOP - President sits on the board of this provincial committee.

"2004 French Shore’s" Steering Committee.

The Society is a member of these local committee’s:


Placentia Heritage Advisory Committee

Our Lady of Angles Convent Committee

Town of Placentia Town Scaping

Tidy Towns

Winter Carnival Committee

Museum of the Atlantic Allies Steering Committee


Under a "Heritage Conservation Plan" for the Placentia area, the Society supports the following groups in their initiative to preserve our history:

The Atlantic Charter Committee

The Argentia Exhibit

Placentia Theatre d'Heritage Committee

Fox Harbour Memories Book - Fox Harbour Community Museum

Historical Archives

In 1997, The Placentia Area Historical Society in partnership with the Placentia Public Library launched

The "Placentia Area Heritage Collection" it consists of:

"The Print Collection" contains more that 500 articles and books on the area, catalogued on a database for easy identification.

A "Digital Picture File" - a collection of historical pictures from all communities in the area from Ship Harbour to Point Verde is also available at the library.

"Placentia - the Early Years" - This web page is a product of the print material collected on the local history. This is a digital directory on the early history of the area up to the early 1800's and a brief history of the local communities from Ship Harbour to the Cape Shore. The history of Resettlement Program is also accessible. An interesting extra of the collection is a genealogical database of baptism, marriage and cemetery from some communities in the area which is available for in-person (only) searches on family histories at the Placentia Public Library.

Genealogical Archive.

The Society also maintains the records of all grave sites in the Placentia area for the Genealogical Society of Newfoundland and Labrador. These records are housed at O’Reilly House Museum.

Argentia Baptismal Records.

Available at O’Reilly House Museum and the Placentia Public Library the Church records of Argentia have been made available for public research. Through partnership with Brian Hennessy, public Library and the society this project records a tremendous part of the former community’s history.

In 2000 the Placentia Area Historical Society partnered with the Town of Placentia and formed the Heritage Advisory Committee formally the Placentia Historic Trust. This committee is a working group of various organizations who share common interests/goals in the heritage sector. In the spring of 2001, the French Shores Working Group -NAHOP Conference was held in Placentia. The conference consisted of nine guest speakers focussing on the province’s rich French history. Later that same year archaeological work began on the Vieux Fort site.

The Society continues to work with its partners in protecting and preserving the local history.

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