Description of Historic Place
Located near the Summerside City Hall on the northwest corner of the Fitzroy and Summer Streets intersection, the Dr. Colin MacPhail House is a large two-and-one-half storey Queen Anne Revival style residence. It has an asymmetrical roofline, a corner tower facing the corner of Fitzroy and Summer streets, stacked bay windows, beltcourses, and varying shingle patterns.
This large residence on the northwest corner of Fitzroy and Summer Streets has historical significance as the home and office of several early Summerside physicians. Four separate doctors and their families occupied the centrally located dwelling between 1897 and 1959. The house is also valued for its remaining Queen Anne Revival style elements and for its contribution to the streetscape.
It was constructed in 1897 for Dr. Colin MacPhail, a popular physician in early Summerside. In June of that year, Dr. George Carruthers sold the empty lot to Dr. MacPhail, a native of Argyle Shore and a graduate of Trinity University, Toronto. He had come to Summerside as a physician four years before to take over the practice of Dr. D. G. Mackay. The Mechanics Manufacturing Company was given the contract for the doctor's new home. It was boarded in by September and the MacPhail family moved in at the end of December.
Dr. MacPhail died suddenly at age forty in 1902. The property was then inhabited by Dr. John Jardine, a native of Kensington. Dr. Jardine had graduated from McGill in 1900 and first practiced in the Victoria and Crapaud area, coming to Summerside in January 1903 to assume Dr. MacPhail's practice. Six years later, he moved to Saskatchewan, where he died in 1943.
The third physician to live here was Dr. Henry E. McEwen of St. Peters, PEI. He left a well-established practice in the O'Leary area to assume the home and office of Dr. Jardine. He died suddenly six months after he arrived in Summerside. His widow, the former Annie MacKay of Freeland, kept the house until August 1919. Once again, the purchaser was a medical doctor.
Dr. John A. MacPhee was born in Charlottetown in 1884 and graduated in medicine from McGill in 1910. He moved to Summerside in 1914, the same year he married his wife, Mae Craswell, a registered nurse. During the First World War, he went overseas with the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps and during the Second World War, he commanded the military hospital at Mulgrave, Nova Scotia, retiring from the army with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
Dr. MacPhee resumed his private medical practice, showing a special interest in the welfare of war veterans. His interest in his community was evidenced by his service in the Children's Aid Society and the local School Board. He was a life member of the Canadian Medical Association, president of the PEI division of that association, and represented the province on the Medical Council of Canada. A family of ten children was raised in the MacPhee home. When Dr. MacPhee passed away at age 75 in 1959, the house was left to his widow.
In March 1961, J. Frank Jenkins, who owned Jenkins Groceteria, began to rent the house, which was very close to his business on the south corner of Fitzroy and Central. He and his wife Grace had eight children. In December 1963, he assumed ownership of the large dwelling and rented out Dr. MacPhee's former office area as a small apartment. The house was conveyed in 1973 to a property company which converted the building into apartments.
Over the years, the building has lost some of its original elements, especially the second storey balcony on the facade, which is now enclosed and has a modern window.
Source: City of Summerside, Heritage Property Profiles
The heritage value of the building is shown in the following character-defining elements:
- the two-and-one-half storey massing
- the sandstone foundation
- the steeply pitched gable roof with asphalt shingles
- the corner tower or turret facing the corner of Fitzroy and Summer streets
- the gable roof dormer
- the set of stacked bay windows
- the original fenestration of many of the windows and entrances
- the canopy roofs over some of the entrances
- the contrasting wood shingle patterns in the gables, tower, and pediment
- the beltcourses painted in a contrasting colour