George P. Walker House
Donald Birch House
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The wood framed two storey G.P. Walker House at 227 Notre Dame Street is on the north side of Notre Dame at the intersection with Spring Street. It is an example of the Foursquare Colonial Revival style. It has a hipped roof with grey asphalt shingles and is completely clad in white vinyl. The main entrance is centred on the Notre Dame side and includes a portico. The registration includes the parcel and the building.
This two storey residence at 227 Notre Dame Street is historically significant as the residence of prominent citizen, George P. Walker, from 1914 to 1956. It is also typical of the many large Foursquare houses that were being constructed in Summerside during the 1910s when the local fox industry was beginning to generate prosperity.
The lot was sold to G.P. Walker in 1909 by J.S. Allen and was the combination of two small lots that Capt. Allen had purchased a decade earlier. In 1914, Mrs. Walker advertised for a maid, so the couple had probably moved into their new house by that time. She was the former Ethel Underhay of Bay Fortune in Kings County.
George Porter Walker, the son of George Henry Walker and Mary Smythe, grew up in Summerside and began work as a clerk with Clark and Robblee. Around 1887, he joined the large mercantile firm of R.T. Holman Limited and worked his way up in the company. He was soon made responsible for several departments and travelled frequently in order to buy goods. Mr. Walker was made a director of the company around 1909 and also acted as treasurer for many years. When he retired in 1946 after almost sixty years with the firm, a tribute to his long and faithful career noted that: "Efficiency might almost be said to be Mr. Walker's second name, this quality making him one of the firm's most valued members."
In 1956, Mr. and Mrs. Walker decided to sell their large home and they moved to a new bungalow at 145 Victoria Road, on land belonging to their only son Ernest. G.P. Walker passed away at age 95 in 1964 and Ethel Walker died at age 96 in 1970.
The new owners of 227 Notre Dame, Donald C. Birch and his wife Helena Bell, lived in the house for the next three decades. Mr. Birch (b. 1914) was the son of Wyman and Sophie Birch and grew up in Summerside. He was employed for many years as service manager with A. Horne and Company and later MacNeill Motors. Mrs. Birch was a registered nurse and worked for many years at the Prince County Hospital.
Mr. Birch altered the layout of the residence in order to create an upstairs apartment. This rental unit was known as 121 Spring Street and had various tenants up until 2003 when the property was sold. The new owners carried out renovations to restore the house to a single dwelling and also finished the third floor as a large master bedroom. The residence had new owners again in 2008.
Source: City of Summerside, Heritage Property Profile
The heritage value of the house is shown in the following character-defining elements:
- the brick foundation
- the two storey massing and form of the building
- the hipped roof with hipped roofed dormers
- the two large brick chimneys
- the remaining original fenestration including the square bay window on the west elevation
Prince Edward Island
City of Summerside
Heritage Conservation Bylaw SS-20
Registered Historic Place (Summerside)
Theme - Category and Type
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
Function - Category and Type
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
City of Summerside, Heritage Property Profiles
Cross-Reference to Collection