Description of Historic Place
This impressive one-and-one-half storey house with Gothic Revival influences is situated close to the street on the southwest corner of the Spring and Notre Dame intersection. It has a gable roof, cladding of grey clapboard and scalloped shingles with white trim and an elaborate entryway featuring a vestibule with balcony above. The balcony has turned posts and balustrade and is covered by a pedimented roof.
The house on the southwest corner of Notre Dame and Spring Streets has historical significance as the home of Joseph Bertram, a founder of the newspaper that went on to become Summerside's Journal-Pioneer. It was also the home for more than sixty years of the family of prominent oyster dealer, John A. Sharp. It enhances the historical streetscape of Spring and Notre Dame providing residential character on the street despite the encroachment of the large parking lot immediately to the south.
The residence was built for Joseph Bertram around 1870. He had come to Summerside sometime in 1865, the year that he and Henry Barnard founded the newspaper, The Summerside Journal. In the 1870 McAlpine business directory, Joseph Bertram was listed as the editor and proprietor of the Summerside Journal with a home on Spring Street. The house was probably built sometime after his marriage in 1866. Mr. Bertram's death occurred in 1876 when he was only 37 years of age.
The house came up for a sheriff's sale in 1880, with T.B. Hall as the plaintiff. It was purchased at auction by James and Amanda Clark, who three days later, sold it back to Agnes Bertram, the widow of Joseph. It must have been shortly after that she left Summerside because the Bertram family does not appear in the 1881 census. When the house was sold in 1891, she and three children were residing in New York City.
The new owner of the property was John A. Sharp, a local merchant and oyster dealer, who may have been renting the house prior to his purchase. In 1898, Mr. Sharp made some noticeable changes to what would have originally been a plain one-and-a-half storey dwelling. According to the Summerside Journal, he "added several bay windows, and a vestibule and balcony, which add greatly to the appearance of the house" and was also erecting a large new barn.
John Sharp and his wife Mary Ellen Walsh had a family of five sons and three daughters. Mr. Sharp died at age 57 in 1906 leaving his widow with seven children ranging in age from 10 to 25. The oldest, Ludlow, who was living in New Jersey at that time, returned to Summerside and took over his father's oyster shipping business. He was living at home when he died in 1930. Mrs. John Sharp died in 1936, leaving her daughter, Zilpha, with the house. She passed away in 1953 after a lifetime of church and community work.
The lot had been reduced in size in 1946 when Miss Sharp sold a 40 by 74 foot section to Angus H. MacKie and his wife, Miriam. Angus was the son of William MacKie and May Bell Sharp, the latter being the daughter of James A., a brother of John A. Sharp. Mr. MacKie worked for many years in the radio station CHGS of R.T. Holman Limited and later was associated with the CJRW radio station. He and his wife, the former Miriam Lidstone, built the house at 254 Notre Dame Street on the land where the Sharp barn had been.
Shortly after the death of Zilpha Sharp, Angus MacKie purchased her home and rented it to various tenants. A small apartment was made in the upper floor of the ell section of the house and this was also rented over the years. John and Mary Jane Tredenick bought the residence in October 1970 after renting it for two years. A fire in February 1971 destroyed part of the ell section, which was being renovated at the time. The family vacated the premises for a period of three months while repairs and changes were made to the interior and a new exterior entrance was installed for the second floor apartment. Mrs. Tredenick sold the house in 1999.
Source: City of Summerside, Heritage Property Files
The heritage value of the house is shown in the following character-defining elements:
- the one-and-one-half storey massing
- the steeply pitched gable roof with asphalt shingles
- the decorative bargeboard on all three gable ends as well as on the gable roof dormers
- the wooden clapboard and shingle cladding
- the brick chimney
- the symmetrical arrangement of the front (east) elevation
- the dormer on the south elevation (shed roof) and the dormer on the north elevation (gable roof)
- the main vestibule entrance on Spring Street with mansard style roof with eave brackets which echoes the stacked bay windows on the south elevation and the single bay on the north elevation
- the central large pedimented dormer with decorative bargeboard and scalloped shingles in the gable
- the balcony with decorative turned posts and balustrade
- the bracketted window caps
- the single and stacked bay windows all with decorative bracketting