It's the kind of dwelling that gets visitors to Grand Falls-Windsor asking questions: "who lives in THAT house?"
In the past, the answer would be, "no one - it belongs to the company running the paper mill. The Northcliffes built it for themselves, but later on it's been used for company functions and to host dignitaries."
Now with AbitibiBowater turning over Grand Falls House and the mill manager's house to the provincial government, people are starting to wonder what will become of the stately Tudor-style mansion, built in 1909.
The province hasn't made a decision yet about the future of the properties, other than Acting Premier Kathy Dunderdale saying it's government's responsibility to maintain the status quo of the buildings to ensure that public safety and the environment are protected and maintained.
"We don't know for sure yet," said Beve Butler, president of the Grand Falls-Windsor Heritage Society. "We just have to wait until we have consultations with government officials. We're not really sure of where that stands."
The group will be talking about Grand Falls House at their regular meeting this week. Ms. Butler says members want to find out what the parameters are, where the future of the house is going and what the intentions are for it.
The structure is certainly a beautiful house with lots of history and significance behind it, but if the heritage society comes up with ideas for Grand Falls House, the group will encounter the same kind of problems it's had in the past.
"It's funding," said Ms. Butler. "Heritage is not a self-sustaining industry, not by a long shot anywhere in the province. There's no way we could take it on and maintain it, and work out of there under our own steam."
Grand Falls House has been a place of visitation since the days of the Harmsworth brothers: family members from the Northcliffe and Rothermere clans (Alfred and Harold Harmsworth were raised to the British peerage as the Lords Northcliffe and Rothermere, respectively) stayed there, as well as diplomats, politicians, celebrities and Lieutenant-Governors over the years. The Grand Falls-Windsor Kiwanis Club also hosted adjudicators' dinners during the music festivals in the past.
The house, over the years, also contained "fine old things," according to Ms. Butler.
"I don't know what's in there now," she said. "I haven't been in it in years."
Grand Falls-Windsor Mayor Al Hawkins said council members haven't had a chance to discuss the future of the house, but he says the province is now in a good position to properly take care of the property.
"If the province hadn't been, with the receivership of AbitibiBowater, the building could have been tied up for years and years," he said. "And what happens to buildings once they're tied up, they start to deteriorate and become a bit of a problem."
He added the town hasn't had discussions yet with the province about Grand Falls House.