Hawthorne Cottage was the Brigus home of Captain Robert Bartlett. Born in 1875, his international fame came after he commanded the Roosevelt for Admiral Peary’s North Pole expeditions as well as the Karluk in Steffanson’s Canadian Arctic Expedition (1913-14). His seagoing career spanned 50 years, and in the 1930’s “Captain Bob’s” exploits were as famous as Jacques Cousteau’s. With his schooner the Effie M. Morrissey he sailed north on scientific voyages, collecting animals for zoos and taking crews of teenage boys on training voyages.
The cottage itself has a rich and diverse history and is recognized for its architecture as a prime example 19th century merchant housing. More than 170 years old, it was moved 10 kilometers on log rollers to its present location in 1834. Captain Bartlett’s mother, Mary Leamon, inherited the house. Since the seafaring men of Brigus were away for much of the year, “Nana Barr” and two of his sisters, Emma & Eleanor, were the main residents, maintaining the home and community connections. The cottage passed from Nana Barr to Robert Bartlett, and eventually to his sisters. As Bartlett’s fame grew the house played host to numerous visitors.
Hawthorne Cottage was a centre point in the life of the Town of Brigus. Through sealing, fishing, and Arctic exploration, the Bartlett family reflects the way of life of a Newfoundland sailing family and the outport communities of this province. They reached out far beyond the world of an outport village and forged connections of international importance.
Visitors to Hawthorne Cottage can visit the Arctic Room to see memorabilia of Bartlett’s voyages. Both the historical significance of Bartlett’s work and the architecture of Hawthorne Cottage have been recognized by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada. Plaques commemorating Captain Bartlett and Hawthorne Cottage can be found while strolling around the beautiful community of Brigus.