Links and documents
1823/01/01 to 1824/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
A well preserved and rare example of a stone house in Prince Edward Island, the Aitken House is located on a hill overlooking the Montague River. It features a symmetrical facade with a central palladian style entrance with a large central dormer directly above, which is typical of Scottish influenced architecture.
This house is valued for being a rare example of a stone house in Prince Edward Island; for its Picturesque or Regency architectural style; and for its historical association with the Aitken family of Lower Montague.
John Aitken (1725-1799) and his wife Margaret (Lowden) Aitken (1739-c 1798) arrived in St. John's Island (PEI) aboard the ship, the Lovely Nelly, in 1775. They came from Auchenhay in Kirkcudbrightshire, Scotland. Five of their children accompanied them on the voyage. It was the youngest, George Aitken (1779-1858), who was later born on the Island at Panmure Island who would later construct the current stone house.
John and Margaret purchased 100 acres of land overlooking the Montague River across from the former French De Roma settlement on Brudenell Point. They built a crude log cabin and began improving their land. By 1815, George Aitken added an additional 90 acres next to his father's property and began operating a grist mill. The profits from this likely helped him construct the stone house. Aitken's farm also became famous for producing "Aitken Black Oats" which were shipped to Britain during the Crimean War (1853-1856). George was married to Hannah Beairsto (1777-1858). The couple were known locally as fine entertainers and on one occasion hosted the Island's Lieutenant Governor at their home.
After visiting Scotland, George returned to PEI and began construction of the house around 1824. The stone walls were made 36 inches thick. Famed Island architect, W.C. Harris, would later remark in 1888 that "the stones in the walls were perfect, still retaining the tool marks when they were cut..."
The home reflects its Scottish roots in the use of flat topped Palladian windows and the shape and style of the sidelights in the central entrance. An interesting interior feature is the telescope which was placed in a recess in the wall. It allowed the viewer to quickly see who was coming to visit or survey the activity on the river.
The house has remained in the Aitken family to this day and is remarkable for its well preserved architectural elements.
Source: Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
File #: 4310-20/TR27
The heritage value of the house is shown in the following character-defining elements:
- the one-and-one-half storey massing
- the sandstone construction
- the gable roof
- the brick chimney
- the symmetrical facade with central entrance with sidelights
- the palladian style windows of the facade with large stone lintels
- the large central domer with eave returns on the front elevation
- the rectangular extension at the back of the house with gable roof
- the roof dormer with eave returns at the back of the house
- the original fenestration of the windows and doors
Prince Edward Island
Province of Prince Edward Island
Heritage Places Protection Act
Registered Historic Place
Theme - Category and Type
- Peopling the Land
Function - Category and Type
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
File #: 4310-20/TR27
Cross-Reference to Collection