Description of Historic Place
The one-and-one-half storey Queen Anne style house at 160 Spring Street is situated on the northwest corner of the intersection with Pleasant Street. Typical of the Queen Anne style, it is an interesting eclectic mix of dissimilar elements. It is clad in clapboard and cedar shingles painted blue with trim in a darker blue and details in white. There is a large conical tower on the southeast corner and a verandah or sunporch facing Spring Street. The registration includes the parcel and the building.
This attractive residence at 160 Spring Street has historical significance as one of the dwellings built at the turn of the twentieth century in a new residential neighbourhood of Summerside. Located at the intersection of Spring and Pleasant Streets, it is one of four houses on that corner.
It was built for merchant Norman R. Wright on a lot that he acquired in 1898. According to a Summerside newspaper, the residence was underway in the summer of 1901: "Norman Wright, Summerside, is erecting a new dwelling, which promises to be an exceedingly handsome one, nearly opposite the residence of Mr. J.A. Brace. The main building is 28 by 34 feet, and the kitchen 17 by 20, with 17 foot post. It will be finished in the most modern style, and will be a fine addition to the handsome residences which are becoming numerous in that popular residential part of the town. Mr. John M. Clarke is the contractor, and Mr. Benj. Muttart is the sub contractor."
Norman Wright and his brother, Elisha, had come to Summerside from Bedeque as young men around 1873. Their business became known as Wright Bros. and for many years offered dry goods, furs, clothing, footwear, crockery, and groceries. Around 1884, Norman Wright moved to Victoria to open a branch store, which he operated for about ten years, until he decided to retire from business.
Mrs. Norman Wright, nee Margaret Matilda Wadman, lived for many years after the death of her husband in 1913. The daughter of Henry Wadman and Catherine Webster, Margaret grew up in Crapaud and married her husband in 1888. Tillie, as she was commonly known, was a supporter of the Prince County Hospital and Trinity United Church and had a reputation as a friend to those in need. She passed away in 1948, leaving no descendants.
In 1949, the executors of her estate sold the property to the Director of the Veteran's Land Act, which acquired it on behalf of ex-serviceman, J. Hubert Hall. The Canadian Parliament had passed the Veterans Land Act in July 1942 in order to provide loans to World War II veterans so that they could acquire property to re-establish themselves in the civilian world.
John Hubert Hall, the son of Frank Hall and Marion Howatt, spent his childhood years in Alberta, returning to PEI with his mother in the late 1930s. He joined the RCAF and was shot down over Holland in 1942. After three years in a German prisoner-of-war camp, he returned to Summerside and became plant foreman at the Hall Manufacturing and Cold Storage Company where he had worked before the war. In 1947, Mr. Hall was appointed Sheriff of Prince County and held that position until his death at the early age of 39 in 1954.
Sheriff Hall's widow was the former Forrona England of Bideford, PEI. For many years, she worked at the Bank of Nova Scotia and later at the Hyndman Insurance Company office in Summerside. The residence at 160 Spring passed into her hands in 1959 and she continued to live in it with her two sons. In 1968, she sold the property to a member of the Canadian Armed Forces based in Summerside. It has had various residents since then.
Source: City of Summerside, Heritage Property Profile
The heritage value of the house is shown in the following character-defining elements:
- the stone foundation
- the asymmetrical massing and form which includes a rectangular footprint with one-and-one-half storey gable extension off the north elevation
- the clapboard and cedar shingle cladding with skirting separating the first storey clapboard and the second storey shingles
- the complex hipped roofed
- the two brick chimneys, one on the main section and one on the north extension
- the conical tower on the southeast corner of the main section
- the gable dormer on the east elevation of the main section
- the porch on the east elevation of the main section which is open with pillars and a pediment, and a second pediment over the vestibule on the glazed section of the porch
- the stacked bays on the south elevation of the main section with gable dormer and gable dormer extending to the roof; also a gable dormer on the west elevation, and below it on the first storey is an oriel window