Description of Historic Place
The Ardgowan House is located on a four-acre site in suburban Charlottetown. The wood-frame, H-shaped structure consists of a symmetrical, one-storey, three bay front section with a one-and-a-half storey structure linking the east and west wing. The house has a shingled, hipped gable roof and its exterior is clad in vertical board and batten siding and wood shingles. The building features Gothic Revival style detailing found in the projecting chimneys, the fretwork on its front verandah and the bay window with trim. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Ardgowan House is a Recognized Federal Heritage Building because of its historical associations, and its architectural and environmental values.
The Ardgowan House is one of the best examples of a building associated with the process by which the British colonies united to form the Dominion of Canada. The house served as the residence of William Henry Pope, a lawyer and active Prince Edward Island (P.E.I) Conservative, who was a strong advocate of Maritime Union. He represented the Island at the 1864 Charlottetown Conference and entertained conference delegates at Ardgowan. In 1865, he presented resolutions in favour of union to the P.E.I. Assembly. However, his views represented a minority of Islanders, and P.E.I. voted against Confederation in 1867. Despite this opposition, Pope continued to promote union through speeches and through his role as editor of the Conservative paper, “The Islander” until P.E.I finally joined Confederation in 1873. The house is also associated with Pope’s brother, James Colledge Pope, who purchased Ardgowan in 1875, and was Premier of the province and among the first P.E.I representatives to Parliament. He sold the 76-acre property in 1879, at which point much of it was subdivided into lots.
The Ardgowan House is valued for its good aesthetic qualities. The country-villa design with Gothic Revival detailing was based on the ideas of American landscape architect and designer, Andrew Jackson Dowling, as popularized in his 1842 book, “Cottage Residence”, and his 1850 book, “The Architecture of Country Houses”. The functional, original four-bay centre plan, the board and batten siding and the well-crafted Gothic Revival detailing found in the chimneys, verandah fretwork, and bay windows were characteristics of this design.
The Ardgowan House is compatible with the residential character of its suburban setting in Charlottetown. As a national historic site of Canada since 1982, the house is a well-known regional landmark.
Sources: Margaret Coleman, Ardgowan House and Barn, Parkdale, Prince Edward Island, Federal Heritage Buildings Review Office, Building Report, 91-058; Ardgowan House, Parkdale, Prince Edward Island, Heritage Character Statement, 91-058.
The character-defining elements of the Ardgowan House should be respected.
Its good aesthetic and functional design and good craftsmanship and materials, for example:
- the country-villa design, which consists of a symmetrical, H-shaped structure comprised of a three bay section that is one-storey in front and two behind, a one-and-a-half storey wing, and a one-storey rear wing;
- the Gothic Revival style features characteristics such as the shingled hipped gable roof with prominent projecting chimneys, the verandah fretwork and the trim on the front windows and door;
- the front verandah and the bay window;
- the wood frame construction and the vertical board and batten siding and wood shingle cladding;
- the interior plasterwork, the layout of the west wing, and the ground floor of the central block.
The manner in which the Ardgowan House is compatible with the residential character of its suburban setting in Charlottetown and is a familiar building in the area, as evidenced by:
- its overall scale, design and materials that harmonize with its adjacent structures and its suburban surroundings;
- its familiarity to residents and visitors as a national historic site of Canada, which makes it a landmark in the immediate area.