Description of Historic Place
The two-and-one-half storey Gothic influenced house at 58 Summer Street is located on the southwest corner of Summer and Church Streets. It is very close to the street and was built in 1898 for Dr. James A. MacLellan. It is one of the few in Summerside designed by William Critchlow Harris, Prince Edward Island's most prestigious architect. The registration includes the house and its lot.
The house at 58 Summer Street has heritage value because of its association with several prominent families in the medical profession, it being the home of four different physicians. The architect who designed it was William Critchlow Harris and it is one of only two of his in the city which survive. Several Harris designed buildings, including the nearby Anglican rectory, fell victim to the Great Fire of 1906. Wind direction carried the flames from across the street directly east of the MacLellan House onto the buildings on the northwest quadrant of the intersection.
In 1898, Dr. James A. MacLellan bought the lot on the southwest corner of Summer and Church Streets and hired William Critchlow Harris to make plans for a residence that would provide a separate entrance to his medical office. Construction of the handsome new house began in July 1898. Dr. MacLellan, a native of Grand River, had come to Summerside from Tignish in 1889.
The house retains many of Harris' characteristic style elements including: the variety of gable roofs; the bargeboard trim with drilled holes; and the corner umbrage which once open, has been enclosed.
Dr. J.A. MacLellan died suddenly in 1904 and his medical practice was taken over by his brother, Dr. Angus A. MacLellan, who left the town of Souris to move to Summerside. Dr. A.A. MacLellan was very interested in the welfare of the town and served on the Town Council and held various positions in community organizations. He died in 1915, leaving the house to his widow, Mary Ellen, daughter of Summerside carpenter, Matthew Dempsey.
In 1941, the property was sold to the Summerside branch of the Royal Canadian Legion. During wartime, the Legion Home provided a war services headquarters for military personnel who were stationed in the area. Mrs. Roland Phillipson, who lived in the building, was appointed to take charge. The building offered a writing room, a library, and enough space for weekly dances. It was officially opened in May 1941 and served as the Legion War Services Club until November 1943 when the Legion moved to larger premises.
The new owner of the house was Dr. John Robert Corbett, born in Granville, PEI. He arrived in Summerside from Shelburne, NS, having practised medicine and surgery for many years previously in Massachusetts. Dr. Corbett left the town and returned to Nova Scotia around 1948. In 1951, the house was rented out to Dr. W.E. Callaghan who lived and worked there until 1953.
Over the ensuing years, Dr. Corbett rented out the residence to various tenants until 1957 when Joseph A. Brophy settled into the house with his family. Mr. Brophy was hired by the Town of Summerside in 1956 to be its manager. He died suddenly in 1971, having worked in the Town Hall, across the street from his home, up to the day before a fatal heart attack.
The house was then acquired by J. Lester Fitzgerald, a general contractor who operated a small printing firm that he and others had purchased around 1969. The firm became Alfa Graphics (1972) Limited when half ownership was sold to experienced printer, Marven Wiley, who had previously worked for the Journal Publishing firm. During this time, a portion of the second storey was rented out as an apartment.
In 1978, Mr. Wiley acquired all the shares in the company and also purchased the building, which was then fully used for the printing business. Alfa Graphics changed hands in 2005 and the new owner moved in August 2007 to a location in the Summerside Industrial Park.
At present, the building remains vacant, yet continues to contribute to its streetscape.
Source: City of Summerside, Heritage Property Profile
The house exhibits the following Gothic influenced character-defining elements:
- the massing and form of this two-and-one-half storey house with steeply pitched gable roof with asphalt shingles
- the brick chimney
- the decorative bargeboard with drilled holes
- the three types of exterior cladding each separated by a string of moulding: board and batten on the attic, scalloped shingles on second level, and vinyl very likely covering original clapboard at the ground level
- the stacked squared bays and shed roof vestibule on the east elevation
- the recessed (now enclosed) umbrage on the northeast corner with stick work arch and latticework
- the asymmetry of the three gabled dormers on north elevation: one with rounded top window, one smaller one with triangular window and one at the attic level with twin narrow windows
- the stacked bays on west elevation with gable roof
- the shed roof vestibule on west elevation, south corner
- the windows which are one over one, wooden storms being the exception as most have aluminum storm windows
- the location of the house being a positive contributing factor to the historical Summer and Church Streets streetscapes