Description of Historic Place
The large two-storey Colonial Revival influenced house at 44 Spring Street sits on the northwest corner of the intersection with Fitzroy Street. It has stacked bay windows on the south and a balcony with railing on the facade. An adjoining garage is located on the east elevation along Spring Street. The asphalt shingled roof is hipped. The registration includes the building and its lot.
The residence at 44 Spring Street is representative of the attractive homes built in Summerside after the Great Fire of 1906. It also has historical value as the property of well known physician, Dr. Alexander MacNeill. It has further heritage value as a fine example of the Four Square Colonial Revival style of architecture, although there have been recent alterations to some elements and details.
The house was constructed in 1908, on one of two adjoining lots purchased by Dr. MacNeill. The local press referred to it as a two-storey colonial cottage and described the interior features of the building, which was designed by local architect George E. Baker. "The carpenter work was done by Mr. Frank McCallum, Bedeque, and he is receiving many well merited compliments on the excellence of his work. The painting was done by Mr. Fred Farrant, the mason work by F. G. Blizzard and the plumbing by William Webber."
Dr. MacNeill was fifty-five years of age when he and his wife, Emma Bowness, moved into the residence with their children, Jean and Frank. Alex MacNeill was born in Canoe Cove and studied medicine at McGill. After graduating in 1883, he set up a practice in Kensington and later moved to Summerside. His interest in the community led to service on the town council and he was an honoured member of the medical staff at the Prince County Hospital. He also served as president of the PEI Medical Association.
When his new home was built, his office was located across the street on the southwest corner of Fitzroy and Spring. His brother, John F. MacNeill, also a family physician, lived a block away at 253 Church Street. The doctor was seventy-two when he died in 1926. Mrs. MacNeill and her daughter, Jean, both passed away in 1947. The house was converted into rental units by its inheritor, Frank MacNeill, who lived in the house next door at 253 Fitzroy. After his death in 1967, his widow continued to rent out the apartments. Since 2006, the house has been a single dwelling, with designated rooms being offered to travellers as the Island Home Bed and Breakfast. The well maintained property remains an asset to its streetscape.
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Source: City of Summerside, Heritage Property Profile
The Four Square Colonial Revival character-defining elements of the home include:
- the square massing and form of the original footprint of this two-storey house
- the steeply pitched hipped roof and hipped roof extension off the north elevation, with asphalt shingles
- the brick chimney
- the second storey clad in wooden shingles separated by a beltcourse from the first level which is clad in clapboard
- the asymmetrical placement of the stacked bay windows on the south elevation with eyebrow (semi-circle) window in gable roofed pediment and the stacked bay on east elevation
- the size and location of the windows and doors
- the modillion brackets under the wide eaves
- the retained window caps from original first storey windows
- the retained small multi-paned window on original north extension
- the pedimented gable dormer with eye-brow (semi-circle) window on the east elevation of the extension and hipped roof dormer on east elevation main section
- the open balcony with doorway off bay on east elevation with balustrades and railing that is a close replica of the original
- the location and size of the house as a positive contributing factor to the historical Spring and Fitzroy Streets streetscapes