253 Church Street
Dr. John McNeill House
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The two storey Colonial Revival style house at 253 Church Street was the residence of Dr. John F. McNeill, one of Summerside's longest serving physicians. It was built in 1909 on the north side of Church Street in an area devastated by the Great Fire of 1906. It has an asymmetrical facade of stacked bay windows framing an entrance portico.
The house is valued for its affiliation with one of Summerside's most dedicated and long serving physicians; for its Colonial Revival style; and for its contribution to the streetscape. Dr. John McNeill had the house designed for him by local architect, George E. Baker, and lived comfortably in it throughout his career. It was one of the many houses constructed during the building boom which followed the Great Fire of 1906.
Dr. John F. MacNeill, of Canoe Cove, opened his medical practice in Summerside in 1902, after having worked for several years as a pharmacist. He pursued both careers until 1913, when he sold his drug store to Charles R. McLellan. When he and his wife, the former Ruby Darrach of Kensington, lost their house in the Great Fire of 1906, they decided to increase the size of their lot for a new residence and consequently bought the adjoining 60 x 130 foot parcel. Work on the current dwelling began in the autumn of 1908 and was finished by August 1909.
Dr. John McNeill and his brother Dr. Alex McNeill (d. 1926) were among the doctors in the area when the Prince County Hospital was constructed in 1912. Dr. John was still an active physician when a large and modern hospital was opened on Beattie Avenue in 1951. That same year, he was elected as president of the Medical Council of Canada. Dr. McNeill was also involved in political life, being elected to the provincial Legislature in 1922 and serving for three terms from that date until 1935. He was a Grand Master of the Masonic Order and was active in the Summerside Baptist Church.
Dr. and Mrs. McNeill lived at 253 Church Street for the rest of their lives, raising their only child, Ruby. In September 1953, they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary when over two hundred people visited the house with gifts and best wishes for the esteemed couple. Dr. McNeill died in May 1962 and his wife Ruby in February 1963. In 1965, their daughter Ruby J. McNeill sold the residence to its current owner.
Source: City of Summerside, Heritage Property Profile
The Colonial Revival heritage value of the house is evident in the following character-defining elements:
- the square configuration of two-storeys
- the large steeply pitched hipped roof
- the brick chimney
- the south facing dormer with hipped roof and three windows
- the grand entrance portico flanked on either side by three columns and supporting a former balcony
- the asymmetrical stacked bays on the south façade, one carrying around to the east corner
- the asymmetrical west elevation with a gabled dormer and fanlight above
- the original window placement remains intact
- the continuing contribution of the house to the post 1906 Great Fire streetscape of Church Street
Prince Edward Island
City of Summerside
Heritage Conservation Bylaw SS-20
Registered Historic Place (Summerside)
Theme - Category and Type
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
Function - Category and Type
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
City of Summerside, Heritage Property Profiles
Cross-Reference to Collection