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Cold Comfort Farm

355 Matthews Lane, Union, Prince Edward Island, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2009/12/21

Showing front elevation; Alberton Historical Preservation Foundation, 2007
Showing front elevation
Archive image of house, 1957; Private Collection
Archive image of house, 1957
Showing side elevation; Alberton Historical Preservation Foundation, 2007
Showing side elevation

Other Name(s)

Former Tom Inman House
Cold Comfort Farm

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2010/01/20

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

This fine example of a PEI "fox" house is located on the west side of the Dock River about three km southwest of Alberton. The Colonial Revival architectural style of the house is evident in the large pedimented dormers, palladian windows, and decorative trim details. The secluded property was built near the end of a cul-de-sac and is surrounded by mature hardwood trees.

Heritage Value

The house is valued for its well preserved Colonial Revival style architecture; as an example of a home designed by "Little" Harry Williams; and as a testament to the wealth created by the silver fox industry in PEI.

Tom Inman (1865-1931) and his wife, Laura Ashley (1878-1968) were successful fox farm ranchers in the area. In 1917, they hired local builder, "Little" Harry Williams (1867-1934) to construct the current house. It is a fine example of a typical "fox" style home in Prince County. These were generally large Colonial Revival style houses with abundant detailing. This example features a six columned portico, palladian windows, and pedimented dormers.

In 1953, the house was sold to James Wells (1908-1983), an Ottawa lawyer, who used the house as his summer residence. He was a descendent of another James Wells, who was one of the first settlers in Alberton.

In the early 1970s, Weldon (Weldy) Phipps (b. 1922) lived in the home. He was a Second World War pilot who later became a bush pilot and owner of the Atlas Aviation airline of Resolute Bay.

The property was inherited by James Wells' sons, Andrew (Andy) Wells and Kennedy Wells who farmed the associated land in the mid to late 1970s.

In 1989, Kennedy Wells and his wife, Marilyn, began operating a bed and breakfast known as "Cold Comfort Farm". The property remains in the Kennedy family today.

Source: Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Tourism and Culture, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
File #: 4310-20/A39

Character-Defining Elements

The heritage value of the house is shown in the following character-defining elements:

- the two-storey massing
- the hipped roof
- the brick chimney
- the pedimented dormers with bracketting
- the stacked bay windows
- the six columned portico with railing topped by a railed balcony and pediment
- the palladian windows
- the beltcourse separating the two storeys
- the hood moulding over the windows



Prince Edward Island

Recognition Authority

Province of Prince Edward Island

Recognition Statute

Heritage Places Protection Act

Recognition Type

Registered Historic Place

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type



Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Tourism and Culture, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8 File #: 4310-20/A39

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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