Description of Historic Place
This Queen Anne influenced house at 168 Central Street is located on the southwest corner where Argyle Street meets Central. It is on the west side of the street and is immediately recognizable by the towers at either end of the east elevation and its central veranda entry. The registration includes the building and its lot.
The house at 168 Central Street is valued for the Queen Anne style aesthetic of its striking twin conical towers. Its similarity in features to the Summerside Anglican Rectory designed in 1897 by the prestigious Island architect, William Critchlow Harris, was noted in a local 1899 newspaper. "The plan is somewhat similar to that of the new rectory, but is more elaborate, and the front and side windows are all curved glass. The result reflects the greatest credit upon the architectural skill and constructive ability of Mr. Jas. H. Auld, the designer and builder, who modeled the residence from several separate plans, blending the whole into the present creation..."
The substantial residence also has historical value as the home of prominent businessman, Holden C. Mills. Born in St. Eleanors in 1853, H.C. Mills was involved in various business ventures in Summerside and Toronto before finding his niche as an oyster dealer. By the early 1900s, he was specializing in the shipment of Malpeque oysters to Quebec and Ontario. In the 1920s, Mr. Mills also became involved in the fox industry, but both business ventures had to be put aside when he became ill in 1926. He died in March 1927 at the age of 74.
Mrs. Catherine Mills, a daughter of well-known Summerside citizen, Harry C. Green, remained in the house after her husband's death. When she passed away in 1944, the trustee of the estate sold the house at auction. The new owners, or subsequent owners in 1947, converted the premises into four apartments, an arrangement that still exists.
It is interesting to note that James Henry Auld, the designer of the building, was married to Eliza Mills, a sister of Holden Mills. Following the construction of the house at 168 Central Street the Auld family moved to Sydney, Cape Breton, where Mr. Auld was superintendent of the building operations being carried out there by his employers, Schurman, Lefurgey & Company, of Summerside.
Although white vinyl has been added to the first storey in recent years, many original architectural elements of the house remain. It continues to contribute to its streetscape.
Source: City of Summerside, Heritage Property Profile
Character-defining elements that represent the heritage value of 168 Central Street include:
- the two-storey massing and form with steeply pitched clipped gable asphalt roof
- the central front veranda flanked by round two-storey towers with conical roofs at the northeast and southeast corners of the house
- the brackets under the eave of the conical tower roofs
- the cladding of square wood shingles on the second storey with the ground storey covered in white vinyl
- the central gabled roof dormer with triple windows
- the windows which are all one-over-one with aluminum storm windows and the windows in the towers which have curved glass and all throughout appear to be in their original locations and sizes
- the triple oriel window of the first floor, south elevation
- the front entry via the veranda on the east elevation
- the veranda featuring turned posts, balusters and decorative lattice work
- the location of the house as a positive contributing factor to the historical Central and Argyle Street streetscapes, maintaining the character of this residential area.