Description of Historic Place
Located in the heart of old Summerside's downtown, Crockett's Jewellery store at 281 Water Street is a two storey flat roofed commercial building. It sits on the north side of the street at the intersection with Summer Street and extends up along the west side of Summer. The upper part of the building is clad in beige vinyl. It has a brick front on Water and a brown canopy roof or awning wraps fully around the south and east elevations. The registration includes the building and its lot.
This structure at 281 Water Street has been a landmark on Summerside's principal thoroughfare since 1919. It has heritage value not only for its solid construction under the supervision of architect George E. Baker, but also for its long association with the Crockett family.
It was erected on the west corner of Water and Summer Streets for two of Summerside's prominent businessmen - Herbert R. Crockett and J. Edward Gallant. They purchased the empty lot in 1917 following a devastating fire of December 1916, which destroyed many original buildings on both sides of Water Street. The building that stood on this location had been owned by Charles C. Gardiner and occupied by grocer, Joseph Locke.
When the new building, clad in metal, opened in September 1919, a newspaper item described the attractive interior: "The drug store is finished in oak and the jewelry store in walnut. Each is 55 feet long and 15 feet wide, with entrances in the centre on Water Street. A large archway connects the two stores. Upstairs there are nine offices... entrance can be gained from either Summer or Water Street." The two gentleman involved in this endeavour had wanted a modern building that they could share. Herbert R. Crockett had opened for business in 1889 and J. Edward Gallant had purchased a Summerside drugstore in 1915.
Some changes took place in the two firms as the years progressed. Mr. Crockett sold out in 1921, but re-purchased the business in 1925. After his death in February 1927 his sons Harold and Carl Crockett worked together for many years, Harold retiring in 1961 and Carl in 1966. On the east side of the building, there were also changes in the Gallant business. J. Edward Gallant died in 1930 and his daughter Ruth Noonan managed the drugstore up until 1949 when it was sold to Roy E. Boates. Mr. Boates, a native of Summerside, who had graduated from Dalhousie University with a pharmacy degree in 1949, operated The Boates Pharmacy until 1974.
Shortly after his purchase of the drugstore and half the building, Mr. Boates and the Crockett brothers initiated some changes to the premises. The local press described the results: "Last week the staging which hid the work being done to the Crockett Jewellery and Boates Pharmacy building for the past weeks was torn down, revealing one of the most attractive buildings in the town. The new front on the building is made of structural black glass with aluminum trim... The Boates Pharmacy, "The Corner Drug Store," now really has its entrance on the corner..."
Over the years, there were many tenants in the building. Fur dealer, George R. MacQuarrie, occupied the office space on the lower floor facing Summer Street from approximately 1922 to 1951. The same space was occupied by the Town from February 1955, when the municipal building burned, until July 1956 when the offices were relocated to the former Post Office. On the upper level, some of the tenants who had offices for many years were the Summerside Public Library (1919-1929), Gentlemen's Club (c1925-1930), Dr. Ralph Noonan, dentist (1926-1967), W. Henry Noonan, lawyer (1931-1947), Dr. J.C. Simpson, physician (1931-1951), Stewart and Lewis, barristers (1925-1954), Archie Sharp, tailor (c1940-c1955), Stewart and MacLeod, barristers (1957-1970), and Imperial Optical Company Limited (1955-1972).
After the retirement of Carl Crockett, his son Parker took over the jewelry business, having started his career in 1950. Following the closure of Boates Pharmacy in 1974, Mr. Crockett purchased the eastern half of the building and renovated the whole ground floor for the use of Crockett's Jewellers. The business is currently operated by the fourth generation of the Crockett family.
Source: City of Summerside, Heritage Property Profile
The heritage value of the building is shown in the following character-defining elements:
- the two storey massing
- the flat roof
- the larger commercial storefront windows of the south elevation
- the rectangular windows of the second storey which although not original, appear to be in the same location