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Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site of Canada
Recherche sur la Forteresse-de-Louisbourg Lieu historique national du Canada
TERRENCE D. MACLEAN
(Fortress of Louisbourg
Report Number H D 24)
A GENERAL INTRODUCTION TO BLOCK 4:
The early history of Block 4 meshed with that of Isle du Quay, since there was no clear demarcation of properties until 1723. Both areas were reserved in 1713 for officers and officials of the crown, and in that year five piquet buildings, including four residences and one lodging for troops, were built with royal funds on Block 4 [NOTE 1]. With the exception of the barracks, all were built in a continuous line along the original route of the Rue du Quay. The barracks, later ceded to Guillaume Delort and used as a storehouse, projected into the Isle du Quay and ran north-south along Rue de l'Estang. The configuration of these buildings subsequently determined the shape of Block 4 and the route of Rue du Quay.
In 1717 the first official concessions of land at Louisbourg were made by Philippe Pasteur De Costebelle and Pierre Auguste De Soubras, governor and commissaire-ordonnateur of the nascent colony. The first concession on Block 4 went to Jean La Croix at the east end of the block on the corner of Rue du Quay and Rue Dauphine. Petit LaMotte was awarded a large concession adjacent to La Croix; the next lot was conceded to Lamotte Cassagnolles, the next to Madame Duvivier and the last two lots, at the west end of the block to Guillaume Delort [Note 2].
None of the four officers resident on Block 4 in 1713, Denys De la Ronde, Jacques De Pensens, François Dupont Duvivier and Michel Le Neuf De La Vallière, had remained there. With the exception of Madame Duvivier, whose husband had died at Louisbourg in 1714, all those awarded concessions [PAGE 2:] in 1717 were merchants, and only Petit LaMotte had lived on the block before 1715. After 1717 the block assumed a decidedly commercial role in the town of Louisbourg.
The definitive layout of the streets of Louisbourg in 1722-23 led to several changes on Block 4 [NOTE 3]. The two concessions of Delort were combined into one, giving him less property because the back of the lot terminated at Rue Royale and the front followed the new alignment of Rue du Quay, cutting off Delort land on what became Isle du Quay. La Croix's land was also reduced, to conform to the changed route of Rue Dauphine. The back of all lots, except E, became Rue Royale, so the block itself was bounded on the south by Rue Royale, on the west by Rue de l'Estang, on the north by the irregular Rue du Quay and on the east by Rue Dauphine. In addition to acquiring the old barracks as a storehouse Delort had bought the house belonging to Michel Le Neuf De La Vallière in 1715, making the Prosperous merchant the sole proprietor of Lot A [NOTE 4]. Madame Duvivier remained the sole proprietor of Lot B. LaMotte Cassagnolles purchased the residence of Jacques De Pensens in 1720 to control Lot C [NOTE 5]. Petit LaMotte took over all of the Lot D buildings although there is no record of Denys De La Ronde selling his residence to LaMotte [NOTE 6] and La Croix still held the smallest lot on the block, E.
Because of these changes Delort had to move his storehouse back to the corner of Rue de l'Estang and Rue du Quay and the principal architect of the newly ordered town, Etienne Verrier, chief engineer, also planned to relocate the buildings at the front of Lots D and E [NOTE 7]. The king approved Verrier's master plan that would have given Block 4 a regular square shape [NOTE 8]. The changes were not made, however, and the section of Rue du Quay in front of Lots B, C, D and E retained its old alignment after 1726. [PAGE 3:]
By 1734 Block 4 had assumed its final shape. Although the front of the block along Lots B, C, D and E did not change, the southeast corner of Lot E along Rue Dauphine was cut off because the alignment of the new Rue Dauphine had to be adjusted at that point to conform to the unchanged alignment of Rue du Quay. This gave the block an irregular polygonal shape quite dissimilar to the rest of the town blocks [NOTE 9]. The measurements given for Block 4 in 1734 were:
"De 33 toises de face sur la rue de l'Etang, et de 37 toises sur la rue royalle, de 29 toises d'une part et 6 toises 1 pied de l'autre sur la rue Dauphin - 32 toises 5 pieds sur la rue et place du port, et 7 toises 3 pieds de l'autre et 4 toises de face sur le quay. Contenant en superficie cy 40744 pieds carrés" [NOTE 10]. (See Figure 1)
It seems that relatively little damage was inflicted on Block 4 during the 1745 siege, for most of the buildings marked on the plans before 1745 appear intact on the plans during and after the siege [note 11]. Guillaume Delort did not return to Louisbourg after the first siege, but his Block 4 property remained in the Delort family. All the other properties on the block reverted to their former proprietors, and after 1749 it was business as usual on Block 4 until the final blow was struck at the French in Louisbourg in 1758.
The history of Block 4 after 1758 is one of new names and old buildings. By 1768 most of the structures - all were constructed of wood - were in need of extensive repairs; the properties of Blaise Cassagnolles and Guillaume Delort were taken over by Matthew Roe and Lawrence Kavanagh [NOTE 12]. It is not known what happened to the buildings [PAGE 4:] after 1768. Exposed to the ravages of the Louisbourg climate, likely with little or no maintenance, they probably fell into ruin by the end of the century. On September 30, 1861, Block 4 was part of a 50-acre plot of land conceded to Dennis, George Patrick and Theobold Kennedy [NOTE 13]. Maps of Louisbourg in 1897 and 1916 show the area completely uninhabited [NOTE 14]. It was part of the land granted to Cape Breton Railways in 1922 [NOTE 15]. The block's serene, grass-grown old age lasted for another 40 years until the reconstruction of Louisbourg began in 1962.
I. [PAGE 230:]
[NOTE 1:] A.N., Colonies, C11B, Vol. 1, fols. 257- 258, Inventaire des maisons faites en mil sept cent treize dans le havre de Louisbourg de ce que a esté fait par les ouvriers du Roy et fournitures, Louisbourg, 30 septembre 1715.
[NOTE 2:] A.N., Colonies, C11B, Vol. 2, fol. 152, Toisé particulier des concessions accordées à chaque habitant du port de Louisbourg, Louisbourg, 10 novembre 1717; also A.N., Outre-Mer, Gl, Vol. 462, fols. 100-106, Brevet de confirmation des concessions, Paris, 22 juin 1718.
[NOTE 3:] A.C., C11A, Vol. 126, fol. 111, Estat des Emplacements concedes a Louisbourg dans l'Enciente de la Place relatif au plan de 1723, Louisbourg, 1723; also plans 1723-1, 2, 3, and 4.
[NOTE 4:] A.N., Outre Mer, G3, Carton 2056, No. 42, Vente d'une maison de Madame de la Vallière à Guillaume Delord, Louisbourg, 14 novembre 1715.
[NOTE 5:] A.N., Outre Mer, G3, Carton 2057, No. 1, Vente d'une maison de Jacques De Pensons à Pierre Cassagnolles De LaMotte, Louisbourg, 24 fevrier 1720.
[NOTE 6:] A.N., Outre Mer, Gl, Vol. 462, fol. 102, Brevet de confirmation des concessions, Paris, 22 juin 1718.
[NOTE 7:] A.C., C11A, Vol, 126, fol. 240, Verrier, Plan d'une partie de la ville de Louisbourg, ou est représenté en jaune la correction que l'on peut faire pour le bien publique et, pour l'arrangement, des maisons qui sont hors des alignment de la rue du Quay, 1 septembre 1726.
[NOTE 8:] A.N., B, Vol. 50-2, pp. 573-575, Maurepas à St. Ovide et De Mezy, 10 juin 1727.
[NOTE 9:] A.F.L., Plan 1734-5, Plan de la Ville de Louisbourg suivant le toisé oui a Esté fait l'an 1734.
[NOTE 10:] A.N., Colonies, C11B, Vol. 15, fols. 15-25, Etat des terrains actuellement occupés ... jusqu'au 15 octobre 1734.
[NOTE 11:] A.F.L., plans 1734-4, 1745-17 and 1746-4.
[NOTE 12:] A.F.L., plan 1768-1.
[NOTE 13:] A.F.L., plan 1861-1.
[NOTE 14:] A.F.L., plans 1897-1 and 1916-1.
[NOTE 15:] A.F.L., plan 1922-1, part 2.