Description of Historic Place
The Gable Ell style one-and-one-half storey building at 74 Granville Street (southwest corner of Prince) has been a fixture since the late 1860s. It is yellow with white trim and features Gothic Revival elements such as hood mouldings, bay windows, and eave returns. The building's footprint, massing and several of the main exterior characteristics appear to be unchanged from the original. The registration includes the building and its lot.
The heritage value of the Colvin House lies in its association with several prominent families and as an example of a Gothic Revival influenced traditional Gable Ell (Island Ell) building dating from the establishment period for the town. It was described by the early 20th century as one of the town's landmarks.
The residence at 74 Granville Street has historic value as one of the oldest homes in an area occupied by prominent citizens of early Summerside. Its location between the 1867 Lefurgey House and the 1868 Rogers House adds to the streetscape in this section of the heritage district.
The house was probably built between 1866 and 1868. The lot was purchased from John Green, grandson of Loyalist Daniel Green, by Charles McKendrick in March 1866. His profession has been recorded as a trader and a bailiff. He later lost the property as payment to Robert T. Holman in November 1870 under a Sheriff's Deed.
During Mr. Holman's ownership, the house was occupied by James McLeod who was a bookkeeper with the firm of R.T. Holman Limited. He was married to Caroline MacEwen, a sister to Mrs. R.T. Holman. In 1875, Mr. Holman sold the house to John Thomson, a retired carriage builder from the Malpeque area. He occupied the house with his older sister Elizabeth until sometime after 1891. After Mr. Thomson's death in December 1905, the ownership of the house was contested in Chancery Court and the property was offered at public auction. The successful bidder for 74 Granville in April 1906 was Mr. Nelson Alward.
When Mr. Alward and his wife Annie P. Thomas moved into the house he had been working as a clerk in the retail store of R.T. Holman Ltd for more than thirty years. The couple had four daughters. The second oldest, Florence, who married A.R. Brennan, owner of the Journal Publishing Company, was the only one to remain in Summerside. Around 1916, Mr. and Mrs. Alward moved to New Glasgow, N.S., where he was in charge of the Y.M.C.A. for several years. The house was sold in 1921, several years after the family left the town. The new owner was Dr. Harry Colvin, an optometrist, originally from Calgary, who practised his profession in Summerside from 1916 until his retirement in 1958. He met his wife, a Ms. Warren of Summerside, when she went to Calgary to work in 1910. The house at 74 Granville Street was their home for forty-six years. The residence has remained a single dwelling and continues to contribute to the streetscape.
Some changes have taken place particularly in the choices made for materials, such as replacement windows in vinyl such as a palladian addition and 6 over 6 vinyl windows on the south elevation.
Source: City of Summerside, Heritage Property Profile
The following character-defining elements contribute to the heritage value of the house:
- the one-and-one-half storey massing and form with steeply pitched gable roof and ell configuration
- the eave returns, moulded entablature, window caps
- the brick chimney
- the mouldings and pedimented vestibule with ionic columns creating a classic entryway
- the original placement and symmetrical arrangement of windows on all elevations appears maintained
- the wall dormer on the east elevation with round arch window
- the ground level bay window on the west elevation
- the shed roof vestibule, east elevation of the Ell section
- the wall dormer on the north elevation
- the continuing contribution to the streetscape on the corner of Granville and Prince