The Downtown core was devastated by fire several times throughout the nineteenth century. Finally, the rich merchants abandoned the slopes of the Downtown, leaving lodgings above their stores to dwell in grand new residences “above the hill”.

Today, some of these grand houses still retain their aging opulence and remain treasures of the city.

Others, however, have fallen into decay. They seem to have retreated from the public view -- staring out at oblivious passersby with just a glint of their former glory, like ghosts haunting the streets of old St John's.

Copyright © 2006 Shannon Patrick Sullivan.