Description of Historic Place
This large three-storey brick commercial building is located on the southwest corner of the intersection of Queen, Water, and Central Streets. Built in 1895, the defining feature of the building is its rounded corner on the northeast providing a view in three directions, but centred on the view down Water Street, the heart of Summerside's downtown commercial district for more than a century.
The building at 4 Queen Street is valued as a symbol of the history of journalism in Summerside; for its commercial style architecture; and for its landmark iconic presence on the corner of Queen and Water overlooking Summerside harbour. The Journal Building, as it is commonly referred to by Summerside citizens, was constructed in 1895 for the premises of Summerside's oldest newspaper "The Summerside Journal" which ran from 1865 until 1951 when it continued as "The Journal-Pioneer". The building is associated with three generations of the prominent Brennan family. It is valued for its architectural features and rarity as one of only two masonry structures on Water Street surviving from the 19th century. It is the only building surviving on Queen Street which leads down to Queen's Wharf, the first wharf to be built in Summerside.
The large brick building was built by William A. Brennan for his newspaper publishing and printing business. Mr. Brennan was born in Kentucky, the son of an Islander who was well known in publishing circles in the United States. When his father bought "The Islander" newspaper in Charlottetown in 1872, William began his journalistic career, coming to Summerside in 1878. He became associated with "The Summerside Journal" and by 1879 was sole owner of the business.
Richard Hunt, chairman of the Town Council, laid the cornerstone in August 1895. Masons and bricklayers using brick acquired from the Bedeque firm of F.W. Strong and Company worked into October on the large building that was comprised of a three-storey section with a rounded corner facing the intersection and a two-storey annex on the southern elevation. The basement housed the large pieces of machinery necessary to the printing trade, the first floor was used for office space and stock room, and the second floor was arranged for editorial and newsroom offices, along with a section for bookbinding.
Shortly after the firm got settled into its new quarters, which a Charlottetown paper described as "one of the handsomest brick and stone blocks on the Island," other areas of the building were completed. Various tenants over the years included lawyers, fox ranch owners, government offices, the Masonic lodge, and the Bank of Nova Scotia. In April 1947, a serious fire gutted the main part of the building.
When William Brennan passed away in 1916, he left the Journal Publishing Company Limited, which had been incorporated in 1902, in the hands of his son, Arthur R. Brennan. He stayed at the helm until 1951 when "The Summerside Journal" amalgamated with "The Pioneer", the other long-running newspaper in Summerside, to become "The Journal-Pioneer". From 1883 to 1949, the Journal Publishing Company had also produced a sister newspaper, "The Agriculturalist."
In 1966, a two-storey expansion to house a modern rotary press was built on the western side. A further expansion of a similar size and design was built in 1985 to allow for more space for Williams & Crue (1982) Ltd., a commercial printing company that had been absorbed into the publishing company in 1952.
In 1972, Bill Brennan, son of A.R. Brennan, sold the firm and its building to multi-national firm Hollinger Incorporated which in turn sold it in 2002 to Transcontinental Media Inc. The printing presses were moved to a new facility in Borden-Carleton and the building was put up for sale. It was purchased in 2004 by Vista Properties Ltd., which removed the 1966 and 1985 additions in preparation for a $3 million dollar condominium project. In 2005, Coles Associates designed a new four-storey section to be joined to the original building and Bayside Builders completed construction in 2006. The building was renamed Harbour Terrace Condominiums. Commercial tenants, including the business and newsroom offices of the "Journal-Pioneer", moved into the ground level.
Source: City of Summerside, Heritage Property Profile
The following character-defining elements reflect the Commercial style heritage value of the building:
- the two and three storey massing of the building with brick masonry construction and flat roof
- the details of the brick exterior including the arched brick detailing over the windows and doors
- the stone caps accentuating the long narrow windows and doors on the lower half of the building
- the stone sills
- the original intact arrangment of doors and windows, some featuring transoms
- the windows most being two over two, the exception being the two ellipticals facing east and the unique plate glass window below them
- the corbel details at the roofline
- the decorative pilasters on either side of the rounded corner
- the location of the building adjacent to the Trans Canada Trail and dominating the view from the East end of Water Street, and its physical and visual contribution and relationships with the streetscapes in four directions