Description of Historic Place
The large asymmetrical two-and-one-half storey house at 203 Notre Dame Street features elements of the Queen Anne Revival and Stick styles of architecture. These include the variety of gable rooflines, the beltcourses of the exterior, the "X" pattern in the stacked square bays and the stick decoration in the pediment of the bay gable. The house is located on the north side of Notre Dame and the west side of busy Granville Street at the traffic lights. The registration includes the building and its lot.
The stately house at 203 Notre Dame Street has heritage value for its Queen Anne Revival and Stick architectural styles which gives it an imposing presence on the corner of a busy intersection of the town. The building also has historical significance derived from the various owners and tenants of the property.
The large residence was built in 1890 for prominent merchant tailor, William A. Stewart. He learned his trade in his native Summerside and later in Charlottetown, before graduating from the Mitchell School of Cutting in New York. Shortly after his return to PEI, he became the head cutter for Daniel Stewart in Summerside and, in 1894, bought out the business. Mr. Stewart did custom tailoring until he retired in 1930.
In 1910, the local press noted that local landscaper, Peter Quigley, had turned the corner property into "a veritable beauty spot." The next year, Mr. Stewart bought the lot to the west of his residence and built another house for himself. This corner property was sold in 1913 to Reginald B. Richardson, the manager of the local branch of the Royal Bank of Canada. In 1917, Mr. Richardson advertised it as "a first-class investment" and found a buyer in businessman, Melville Bradshaw. M.L. Bradshaw lived at 203 Notre Dame until 1927, at which time he and his wife and three daughters moved to a new house that was built for them at 197 Central Street.
Ernest Large, ticket agent for the Canadian National Railway (CNR) in Summerside, was the next owner of the spacious house. When he was promoted to the position of freight agent in Charlottetown in 1932, he and his wife acquired a residence there. They retained the house in Summerside until 1939. It was leased by the local detachment of the RCMP for an office and living quarters from 1937 to 1939, and presumably was rented in the intervening years.
The Bowness family purchased the house in November 1939. John Bowness, a farmer from Montrose, had retired and moved to Summerside with two of his daughters, Estelle, a schoolteacher and Jennie, a seamstress. The deed for the Notre Dame Street property was in their names. Around 1940 their sister, Mrs. Clara Bell, came home from Alberta and also moved into the large house. The size of the dwelling allowed the women to take in boarders over the years. The Bowness sisters owned the property until 1968. Since that time it has been lived in or rented by various owners. One of the more recent owners brought it back to its original state of wood cladding by removing imitation brick siding.
Today, this well maintained residence retains many of its architectural elements and is an asset to the streetscape.
Source: City of Summerside, Heritage Property Profile
The following character-defining elements illustrate the heritage value of the house:
- the asymmetrical two-and-one-half storey massing and form of the building with steeply pitched gable roofs with several extensions covered with asphalt shingles
- the brick chimneys
- the original placement, size and location of many of the windows
- the columned verandah on the south elevation with brick supports
- the bargeboard trim on the gable eaves and the decorative stick elements in the pediments of the gables
- the beltcourses on the exterior facade
- the second storey balcony with shed roof and columns
- the pedimented gable with carved decoration in the peak of the south gable
- the glazed sun room off the west elevation with shed roof
- the half-storey hipped roof extension on the west elevation to the north of the sun room
- the wood clapboard cladding
- the ornamental repeating "X" detail on the square bays
- the continuing contribution to the historical streetscape of Notre Dame and Granville Streets