Description of Historic Place
The small one storey house with tiny front lawn and trees at 157 Belmont Street sits on the north side of the street and is painted a bright blue with white trim. It is a cottage bungalow style with gable end and attractive verandah facing Belmont. It is clad in wide cedar shingles. The registration includes the parcel and the building.
The one-and-one-half storey bungalow at 157 Belmont Street has heritage value as an example of the cottage bungalow style that became popular in Summerside in the 1930s. It also stands as evidence of the construction work of carpenter Charles W. Ramsay.
The house was built in 1931 for Ralph S. Williams and his wife Olga Johnston. They had acquired the lot from her father, Thomas Johnston, who had purchased 180 feet along the north side of Belmont Street in 1919.
Charles W. Ramsay was hired to construct the modern residence. A local newspaper noted, "Another fine house in course of construction is being built on Belmont Street, by Mr. Chas. Ramsay, for Mr. Ralph Williams. It is of the semi-bungalow type and of two storeys, with three bedrooms upstairs, a fine bathroom and four rooms downstairs. It is beautifully finished throughout and covered with asphalt shingles in red and white which give a very pleasing effect." Mr. Ramsay and his wife Catherine had moved to Summerside around 1922, when he would have been about 47 years of age.
C.W. Ramsay constructed many houses with the assistance of several employees. An advertisement in a local newspaper in 1930 gives an indication of his practice of building on speculation. "I have several building lots nicely located on water and sewerage on which I intend to build moderately priced homes for sale. Intending purchasers can have their own ideas worked into any of these houses if arranged for before they are built." In the period of 1931-32 he erected several houses on the east side of Granville Street, known as the Ball Park subdivision, opposite the present day Queen Elizabeth Park. In 1934, he built the attractive residence at 141 Victoria Road.
Olga Johnston took a course at the Summerside Business College in 1926 and then entered nurse's training in Beverley, Massachusetts in 1927. She did not graduate, however, and after returning to Summerside she worked as a stenographer in her father's business. In December 1929 she married Ralph S. Williams. He was the son of F. Wallace Williams and had also grown up in the town. He and his brother-in-law Arthur took over the plumbing, heating and electrical firm of Thomas Johnston Company Limited in 1930. The marriage of Ralph and Olga Williams came to an end sometime in the early 1940s.
Olga Williams continued to live in the house at 157 Belmont, but the ownership was transferred to the mortgage holder in 1956. Other individuals occupied the house, either as roomers or in a small one-bedroom apartment in the basement, over the next decade. The property passed through the hands of three other owners until 1968. In July of that year, Olga Johnston died and the house was once again sold. The new owners took up residency of the property and remained until the year 2000, when the current owners purchased it.
Source: City of Summerside, Heritage Property Profile
The heritage value of the house is shown in the following character-defining elements:
- the small one storey elevation with low pitched gable roof with asphalt shingles on a rectangular footprint
- the wide cedar shingle cladding
- the palladian windows on the south elevation and towards the north end of the west elevation
- the shed roofed dormers on the east and west elevations
- the eave brackets
- the two brick chimneys
- the hipped roofed verandah across the south elevation with pediment and square wood and brick pillars
- the contribution it makes to the historic streetscape of Belmont Street