215 Church Street
George Godkin House
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The residence at 215 Church Street is a handsome example of a Colonial Revival style home. It is similar to several other houses in Summerside and area that were designed by local contractor Percy Tanton who was actively associated with the building supply firm of M.F. Schurman and Company. Constructed in 1908, its features include a symmetrical facade of two stacked bays framing a central portico with a balcony and Gothic arch. The registration includes the building and its lot.
The heritage value of 215 Church Street lies in its association with the Great Fire of 1906 which swept through the town of Summerside leaving a large number of families homeless. The residence is also valued for its well-preserved Colonial Revival architecture, its association with George Godkin, and its contribution to the streetscape.
George Godkin and his wife Sadie had been burned out of their house on the north side of Fitzroy Street and bought this well situated lot from local druggist A.W.P. Gourlie. At the time of the purchase, Godkin was serving his third term as a Liberal in the provincial Legislature. That same year, 1907, he was appointed Collector of Customs for Summerside, a position that he held until his death in 1919. By trade, he was a watchmaker and jeweller and for many years was an active partner in a business on Water Street which his brother, Benjamin, had opened in 1881. The firm of Godkin Bros. operated up to the 1950s.
Mrs. Godkin was a daughter of William H. Brown of St. Eleanors. Shortly after she and her husband moved into their new home they adopted her sister Lucy's son, Eric MacKay. Lucy Brown had married Dr. Daniel T. MacKay, who was forced to leave his medical practice in Kensington when he became seriously ill. After his father's death in 1910, eleven-year-old Eric came to 215 Church Street. He was twenty-nine years old when he inherited the house from Mrs. Godkin in 1929.
Eric MacKay was very active in the life of the town. As a young man he began working as a clerk at the Post Office and eventually became assistant postmaster. He was particularly interested in sports and was an active member of the local golf, curling and yacht clubs. In 1976, after having spent most of his life at 215 Church Street, he and his wife Helen Todd Begg, sold the property.
The house today is very much in keeping to its original design. The clapboards of the first level are separated from the shingles of the second storey by a beltcourse with narrow bargeboard below. The windows are in their original location and have a symmetrical appeal, giving the structure balance and a sense of solid construction. A palladian door provides access from the second floor onto a balcony with a roof supported by Doric columns. The front entryway has been enclosed, a change from the original open verandah that extended across the front of the house with steps leading down to the driveway.
Source: City of Summerside, Heritage Property Profiles
The Colonial Revival heritage value of the home is shown in the following character-defining elements:
- the symmetrical stacked bay windows on each of the corners of the front elevation with triangular pediments above
- the grand scale achieved by extending the elaborate entryway upward to a full two storeys with a Gothic influenced arched gable with scrolled bargeboard
- the central portico with a balcony featuring a Palladian doorway
- the steeply pitched hipped roof
- the brick chimney
- the square Doric columns supporting the roof over the balcony extending to ground level and enhancing the classical feeling of the symmetrical south facade
- the clapboard on first storey, shingles on the second, divided by a beltcourse with narrow bargeboard below
- the windows which are in their original locations, many with decorative hood moulding
- the modillions or decorative flat brackets under the wide eaves
- the continuing contribution of the house to the post Great Fire of 1906 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