Description of Historic Place
This large Island Ell style house overlooks a former mill pond in an idyllic setting with spacious grounds and mature trees. It features gable roofs, dormers, and two-over-two windows with their original bracketted hood moulding.
The Richardson House is valued for its association with the Patterson, Makita, and Richardson families; for its association with the development of tourism in PEI; and for its Island Ell architectural style.
It is believed the house, the oldest in Hunter River, was built around 1864 by James Patterson (1817-1907) who had emigrated from Norwich in Norfolk County, England in 1841. Patterson originally leased 113 acres of land in Hunter River from the proprietor, David Stewart Rennie, in October of 1853. He would build and operate a grist mill on the property. After the Land Purchase Act came into effect in 1875, records indicate that Patterson purchased the land in December 1877.
The property remained in the Patterson family for several generations. James' son, also James Patterson (1853-1942) operated the area's first hydroelectric plant in 1919 on the property. In return for operating the plant, he received free electricity for his home and mill. He also established the first street lights in Hunter River. In 1920, the grist mill was sold to Lefuta Wood, who operated it until 1940. It was then purchased by R. Bagnall.
The third generation, James Wellington Patterson (1891-1974), would operate tourist accommodations on the property called the "Patterson Tourist Home" beginning in the 1950s. This was advertised as providing "home cooked meals" and being close to "trout fishing". In 1964, the Patterson property was distinguished as a "Century Farm" and received a special sign to display.
The Mikita family from Vancouver visited the Patterson Tourist Home in 1970. They fell in love with the property and soon purchased it. From 1981 to 1987 they operated their own tourist business from the house, calling it "The Old Homestead Bed and Breakfast". The Mikita's introduced the Tennessee Walking Horse breed to PEI, with the hope that it would become widespread. However, it did not.
In 1987, the Richardsons' purchased the property after also enjoying their stay at the bed and breakfast. Dr. Richardson, a dentist, operated a dental office from the house between 1989 and 1992. To accommodate his business, the south sunroom was transformed into a large waiting room for his patients.
The house retains several original elements including many two-over-two windows with bracketted hood mouldings. It remains an important structure in the history of Hunter River.
Source: Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
File #: 4310-20/H6
The heritage value of the house is represented in the following character-defining elements:
- the wood frame construction
- the wood shingle cladding
- the gable rooflines
- the brick chimney
- the ell shaped addition to the left of the main house
- the dormer
- the enclosed front verandah
- the addition to the right of the main house
- the two-over-two windows with decorative bracketted hood mouldings