Description of Historic Place
The impressive gable roofed two storey Gothic Revival influenced house at 161 Belmont is on the north side of the street. It is now completely clad in narrow white vinyl siding, however, interesting original pendant decoration under the eave remains and is painted red. The gable end faces the street with the main entrance through a wraparound sun porch. There is a large tree on the small lawn out front. The registration includes the parcel and building.
The large two-storey structure at 161 Belmont Street has heritage value as the ell section of the former ornate T.B. Hall House that once stood on the site of 66 Water Street in Summerside.
The huge residence built for Thomas B. Hall was described in an 1874 newspaper. Part of the article stated: "We were somewhat astonished on entering this really beautiful edifice. The design was originally drawn by Matthew Stead, of Boston, for E.J. Smith, Esq., of Shediac, from whom Mr. Hall obtained it. Mr. William P. Baker is the master-builder, and the workmanship is pronounced as first-class by good judges. The main house is three storeys high (24 feet post) 42 feet long by 32 feet wide. The L is 33 feet long by 22 feet wide, and consists of a very large kitchen, hall, pantry, culinary, etc. The upper storey of the L has four large bedrooms."
Thomas Brewer Hall was a popular merchant in the early town of Summerside. The extravagance of his new residence led to financial woes and by 1879 he and his wife, Agnes Glover, had moved to Lot 67 and later went to Wyoming. The house became the property of two Charlottetown businessmen until 1893 when it was sold to Summerside contractor J. M. Clark. In the intervening years, it was rented to several local prominent citizens. They were Judge Thomas Kelly (1883), Town Chairman Richard Hunt (1884-1891), and real estate entrepreneur R.C. MacLeod (1892-1893).
John M. Clark, who was a leading citizen in the community, moved into the house with his wife Sarah and family. In 1916 he went out to Edmonton to work and his wife joined him there in the fall of 1918.
In 1920 the house, noted in the press as "one of the finest properties in Summerside" became the home of George W. Robinson, owner of Robinson's Flour Mill. He and his wife, the former Lucy Waugh, moved in along with their son Brewer (b. 1891) who had married Ethel Mills in 1919. Within a few months of the purchase, George Robinson removed the back section of the building, known as the ell, and had it taken to the north side of Belmont Street where it now stands. The Robinson family lived in the main section of the house for several decades before it was torn down in the 1960s.
Businessman, Thomas Johnston, owned the lot on which the structure was placed and presumably lived there while his two storey dwelling was being built at 151 Belmont Street. After Mr. Johnston moved into his new house in late 1922, his son Arthur lived in the relocated building. Arthur B. Johnston (b. 1896) married Florence MacLeod in 1927 and in 1929 left PEI to take a job as a travelling salesman, only to return in 1930 to take over his father's business. His house was advertised as having seven rooms and all modern conveniences.
The new owners of the property in February 1929 were Henry Jamieson and his wife, the former Sophia Lyle. He was a native of Summerside and lived in the Boston area for many years. He was a widower in 1924 when he met and married Sophia, who had grown up in Lot 16. The couple returned to PEI in 1928 and Mr. Jamieson served from that year until 1931 as a police officer in Summerside. After his death in 1938, his widow remained in the house.
Around 1952, Sophia Jamieson married Henry C. Miller, who was retired from his career as a train conductor in Washington State. He was a widower who had known Sophie from their childhood days in Lot 16. Mr. Miller passed away in 1958, and Mrs. Miller died at age 85 in 1966. Her home had been deeded to her nephew Harold Lyle in 1963, but he had predeceased her by several weeks. The property consequently passed to his widow, the former Matilda Owen, who stayed in the house until 1994, when it was sold as a single dwelling. The new owner converted the building into two apartments, one on the main level and another on the second level. It has changed hands as a rental property since that time.
Source: City of Summerside, Heritage Property Profile
The heritage value of the house is shown in the following character-defining elements:
- the two storey massing and form of this house with rectangular footprint, classical proportions, and steeply pitched gable roof with asphalt shingles
- the wraparound hipped roof enclosed sunroom on the full south and east elevations with wooden windows and transom lights
- the pediment over the doorway on the south elevation, creating a vestibule effect, and false pediment gable end, south elevation, stretching from eave to eave
- the original delicate pendant trim along the east and west eaves linking to its past life as the south extension of the old T.B. Hall House on Water Street
- the one-over-one windows resulting from the 1920s move and renovation
- the one large asymmetrical brick chimney located toward the south end of the gable roof
- the contribution of the house to the historic Belmont Street streetscape