The chair of Saint John's Heritage Development Board is discouraged that two historic Mount Pleasant homes have been demolished by Irving Oil in the last two weeks.

On Friday, an excavator was scooping debris from the stone cellar of what had been a Victorian home on Mount Pleasant Avenue.

From a safe distance, Leona Laracey, the chairperson of Saint John's Heritage Development Board, watched the last traces of the building vanish.

"To see historically significant homes disappear from the street through demolition is quite sad," she said.

Laracey said Mount Pleasant is a favourite street for locals bringing visitors to the city.

She said there were attempts to have the area designated as a heritage area years ago.

But those attempts failed because of a lack of interest among property owners.

"Unless something is actually designated, that is it's in a conservation area, it is not protected," she said.

A call to Cobalt, Irving Oil's property management company, was not returned Friday.

Saint John’s first suburb

The city assembled a list of some of the most notable houses in the Mount Pleasant area and created a walking tour for people interested in the heritage homes.

The city said the area had been an undeveloped hillside in 1850 when a few wealthy individuals started building their homes on the land.

By the 1880s, the streets were lined with homes, mainly with staff and workers from the Intercolonial Railway.

Mount Pleasant was considered the city’s first suburb, according to the heritage document.

The first time anyone realized the Mount Pleasant buildings were no longer wanted was when they were demolished.

Laracey said she would have liked it if people in the community had been given a chance to consider buying or moving the homes.

"If there wasn't a desire on the part of the current owner to invest in the buildings, that the buildings be offered for sale, just to see if someone else would have taken that interest and given the building a new life," she said.