Description of Historic Place
This large one-and-one-half storey Gothic Revival influenced residence at 38 Eustane Street is built in the Gable Ell style. Located close to the street, it dominates the corner lot on the west side of Eustane and the south side of Fitzroy. On the southeast elevation facing Eustane there is a shed roofed porch and on the south gable end there is a hipped roof verandah. It has black asphalt roof shingles and is fully clad in white vinyl siding.
The residence has historical significance as the home of the Mollison family for nine decades. John Mollison and his son, Robert, were very well known in the town of Summerside and the house is closely identified with them.
The lot measuring 120 by 75 feet was one of many lots subdivided in 1854 for Bedeque merchant Jonathan Weatherbe who owned all the property between Granville and Eustane and from the water's edge to the north side of Belmont Street. Mr. Weatherbe took his wife Mary Baker and their large family to Wisconsin around 1855, leaving his building lots in Summerside to his son Robert, a lawyer and judge in Halifax. He sold the lot in 1865 to John Cairns.
Mr. Cairns, a farmer in Freetown, came to PEI from Scotland in 1832. He died unmarried in 1889 and the empty lot passed to his sister, Janet. She apparently gave permission to her niece Mary Cairns, the daughter of Robert Cairns, Jr. to build a house on the lot after her marriage to John Mollison in 1894. The house was erected in 1895, but the deed for title to the land was not drawn up until 1912.
John Mollison was a widower, his first wife, Emily MacLean of Tyne Valley, having died in 1891, leaving one son and three daughters. At the time of his second marriage, he was very prominent in the community as the editor of the newspapers "The Pioneer" and "The Island Farmer". He later turned his hand to land surveying, which he pursued from approximately 1904 until 1927. Mr. Mollison took an interest in local history and his account of the development of Prince County appeared in the well known "Past and Present of Prince Edward Island" published around 1906. He was a contributor to periodicals such as the Dalhousie Review and the PEI Magazine. The culmination of his writing was a philosophy book published in 1932 with the title "What is Man?"
When John Mollison married Mary Cairns he was 44 and she was 40 years of age. In 1897 their son Robert L. was born. Robert or R.L., as he was known as an adult, served overseas in the First World War, and returned to Summerside to work with R.T. Holman Limited. Later he opened his own business, Mollison's Hardware, on Water Street, and became involved in the community, serving on the town council and in various organizations. During the Second World War he was commanding officer of the P.E.I. Lighthorse (Reserve) in which he held the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
Robert Mollison's mother and father died in 1923 and 1937 respectively and he remained in the family home. In July 1916 he had married Ellen Grace McLure of Union Corner. She, like her husband, was very active in the community and served in various capacities. The couple raised three daughters and four sons at 38 Eustane Street. Mr. Mollison passed away in 1971 and his widow died in 1986. The house was sold in 1985 to the Trustees of the Summerside Church of the Nazarene, whose worship building is on the adjoining lot to the west. It was used as the church parsonage for the next ten years and sold by the trustees to the current owners in 1996.
Source: City of Summerside, Heritage Property Profile
The heritage value of the house is shown in the following character-defining elements:
- the one-and-one-half storey massing and Gable Ell form
- the steeply pitched gable roof with asphalt shingles
- the brick chimneys
- the shed roofed porch/vestibule on the east elevation
- the symmetrical arrangement of windows
- the large round arch window in the dormer on the north elevation which is complimented by smaller round arch windows on the east and west gables
- the hipped roof verandah on the south elevation