Description of Historic Place
The one-and-one-half storey house at 89 Summer Street is on a corner lot bordered by the intersection with Winter Street and on the south and east by Memorial Square and the Trinity United Church. It is a plain gable-ell style dwelling with a gable roof, bay windows, and a diamond shaped window in each peak. It faces the park and has been altered by some architectural changes over the years including the removal of a verandah. From the time of its construction around 1876 it stayed in the prominent Crabbe family until 1943. The registration includes the building and its lot.
The heritage value of 89 Summer Street lies in its association with prominent Summerside families; its architectural style, the gable-ell, which was a popular design in the time period in which it was constructed; and for its continuing contribution to the streetscape.
The dwelling was built sometime between 1875 and 1878 for Thomas Crabbe who had come to Summerside in 1855 when the community was known as Green's Shore. From that time until 1872, he operated Crabbe's Hotel on Water Street and used that location for the local post office while he served as Postmaster from 1859 to 1871.
When Mr. Crabbe died in 1890, the residence was willed to his wife Charlotte. After her death in 1905, the house was left to her daughter Fannie. In the spring of 1906, Fannie Crabbe married William J. Whitney, a musician who had come to Summerside from Boston in the late 1890s. On the night of their wedding the band of the 82nd Regiment, of which he was leader, serenaded the couple in front of the house. Mr. Whitney served overseas with the Canadian Artillery from 1914 to 1919. Upon his return, he resumed his role as organist for St. Paul's Roman Catholic Church and worked as a music teacher. He would later take a position with the local Customs office.
The house escaped the flames of the Great Fire of 1906 because of its location at the northern end of Memorial Square, then known as the Public Garden. In June 1909, a local newspaper reported that Mrs. Whitney "has added greatly to the attractiveness of her residence on Summer St. by alterations and tree planting." The dwelling suffered considerable damage in 1932 when a flue fire destroyed the attic in the ell on the east side. Subsequently, the roof of that section was rebuilt at a lower level.
The house was inherited by the couple's only child Henry, who was in the Canadian Army at the time of his mother's death in 1943. After the war, he returned to New York where he had been living and resumed his career, which led in 1966 to the position of vice-president of the Chase-Manhattan Bank.
He sold the house in 1947 to local contractor, Theron Morrison, who made the dwelling into upper and lower apartments. In February 1952, it was purchased by J. Arthur Clark, a native of Saint John NB, who had settled in Summerside early in his business career. He was the founder of Maritime Asphalt Products Company Ltd. and later owned Mapco Building Supplies on Water Street East. He and his wife gradually renovated the house back to a single dwelling and later built an addition for a dining room and constructed a garage. Mr. Clark died in 1982 leaving the residence to his widow.
Source: City of Summerside, Heritage Property Profile
The heritage value of the house is shown in the following character-defining elements:
- the one-and-one-half storeys with gable roof, asphalt shingles
- the brick chimney
- the clapboard cladding
- the rectangular windows with hood mouldings
- the bay windows with decorative bracketting
- the diamond shaped or lozenge shaped windows in the peaks
- the pedimented sunporch which wraps around the south east corner of the main building
- the hipped roofed single-storey extension accommodating a dining room
- the house's continuing historical contribution to the streetscapes and park as an example of a residence saved from the Great Fire of 1906 by the buffer created by the area now known as Memorial Square