Bowser/Hillcrest House

Photo: Gene Goodrich

Hillcrest House
72 York Street, Sackville, N.B.
(corner of York and Salem)

Early 1880s
The Bowser House was built in the early 1880s by J. Wesley Doull for Henry Eugene Bowser a direct descendant of Yorkshire settler Thomas Bowser (1774-1860) on part of the land originally acquired by Thomas Bowser in 1777. The Queen Anne style house featured a three-storey square tower on the east side, and a porch at the north-east corner with spindlework frieze and decorative brackets.The house was purchased for Mount Allison University in 1929 by President George J. Trueman from the estate of Mary, daughter of Eugene Bowser. Under the name of Hillcrest House the building was used for a variety of purposes: as a student residence, as faculty apartments, and as the offices of the Federated Alumni. Later it became the home of the Mount Allison History Department, and finally of the Mathematics and Computer Science Department.
Citing the increasing costs of maintaining the building, Mount Allison University had Hillcrest House demolished on the morning of Wednesday 15 November 2000.

The demolition provoked widespread local concern and sparked the movement that eventually led to the establishment of the Town of Sackville Heritage Review Board, to the passing of a Heritage By-law and the creation of two Municipal Heritage Conservation Areas. See “Mount Allison Demolishes 120-Year-Old Hillcrest House: Heritage Bylaw Sought,” Sackville Tribune-Post, 29 November 2000.

Photo: Al Smith

Demolition of Hillcrest House


The site is now occupied by the Mount Allison University Gemini Observatory. Built in the summer of 2008, the facility consists of a dual-dome astronomical observatory housing two 11 inch identical Schmidt-Cassegrain telescopes. The two domes are located inside a wooden palisade. For further information on the observatory see Mount Allison Gemini Observatory

The name “Hillcrest” survives only as the designation of the parking lot situated at the rear of the property.

Tantramar Heritage Trust | Historic Sites