Former Harry O'Brien House
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Morrison House is a two-and-one-half storey home with a gambrel roof with shed dormers. It is situated on the south side of Church Street in Alberton. It was originally located on the Mill Road, but was moved to this site in 1915.
This house is valued for its historical association with prominent individuals in the Town of Alberton.
The property was originally constructed by Ernest Wallace in 1914 and was then located on the Mill Road near Cascumpec. In the spring of 1915, it was bought by Harry O'Brien and hauled by horses to its current location on Church Street in Alberton. O'Brien had previously resided on the Dock Road with his wife, Janie, and their family which included: Bill, Roy, Claude, Joe, and Agnes.
Harry O'Brien built a stable and a racetrack near this house and it was here that his son, Joe, would have his first driving lessons.
Joe O'Brien (1917-1984) would go on to be a legend in harness racing, being named the top racing driver in the United States in 1961 and only the third driver in history to win over 3000 races in 1971. He was inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame in 1965 and was the first to be inducted into the PEI Sports Hall of Fame in 1968. In 1976, he was inducted into the Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame. During his career, he drove more than 4500 winners and collected more than $20 million in purses.
His brother, Bill, inherited the house from his parents and added the single storey wing to the east side of the building. In 1970, it was sold to Bruce Carruthers and then resold to the Hon. Robert Campbell, the local Member of the Legislative Assembly. He holds the record as the longest serving member of the provincial legislature at 29 years. He was known by the nickname: "The Great West Wind" due to his western PEI roots and his talent as an orator. During his ownership of the home, two dentists, Dr. David Crocker and Dr. G.S. Jackson, had their offices in the building.
The current owners purchased the property in 1985 and carried out extensive renovations.
Source: Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
File #: 4310-20/A32
The heritage value of the house is shown in the following character-defining elements:
- the wood framed construction
- the two-and-one-half storey massing
- the gambrel roof with eave returns
- the brick chimney
- the shed roofed dormers
- the gable roofed single-storey wing on the east elevation
- the central entrance porch with a shed roof and pediment connecting the two front dormers
Prince Edward Island
Province of Prince Edward Island
Heritage Places Protection Act
Registered Historic Place
Theme - Category and Type
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
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/A32
Cross-Reference to Collection