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Former Church of Scotland

138 Kirk Street, Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2009/12/21

Showing northwest elevation; City of Summerside, 2009
Showing northwest elevation
Showing southwest elevation; City of Summerside, 2009
Showing southwest elevation
Showing former church, c 1970; MacNaught Archives Acc. 018.236
Showing former church, c 1970

Other Name(s)

Former Church of Scotland
The Kirk

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2010/02/10

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

This small one-and-one-half storey house at 138 Kirk Street is at the end of the street on the south side where it meets Russell Street. It has a steeply pitched gable roof with gray asphalt shingles and is clad in wide cedar shingles painted beige. The gable end with the front entrance faces Kirk Street. It has a rectangular footprint with a small vestibule on the north elevation as was the case when it served as the house of worship for members of the Church of Scotland. The registration includes the parcel and the building.

Heritage Value

The building at 138 Kirk Street has heritage value as the place of worship for over a century of the local adherents of the Church of Scotland. While there is conflicting information about the age of the structure commonly referred to as "The Kirk," its significance to the streetscape is retained for posterity in the name of the street which it faces.

A newspaper article written by Ada MacLeod in 1928, stated that the building was originally the house of Joseph Pope and his brothers and was built in Bedeque in 1818. Another article in 1935 added the information that it was hauled across the ice to its present site around 1873. Former PEI Premier Hon. James C. Pope and his brother, William Henry Pope were born in the building. A 1965 article further reinforced that "The Kirk" was believed to be one of the oldest buildings in the town.

A February 1889 issue of the "Island Farmer" reported: "The church here in connection with the Church of Scotland was formally opened for worship last Sabbath. Although the number of families is small, compared with other denominations in this town, yet their commendable energy has carried them safely through the undertaking of building a church, and now they have a nice well-finished structure to worship in. This church has been nicely plastered and seated. The members of this congregation are to be congratulated upon their new church..."

When the church building was constructed, or re-constructed in 1889, it faced McMillan Street, now known as Kirk Street, which had been opened by the town in 1888. Rev. John Goodwill conducted the service for the official opening of the church. He had come to Prince Edward Island in 1875 to preach to the congregations that had been formed under the leadership of the Rev. Donald McDonald who had arrived on the Island in 1826. These "McDonaldites" had established themselves in Wilmot Valley near Summerside by the 1860s. The Island wide responsibilities of Rev. Goodwill prevented him from visiting Summerside more than a few times a year. In his absence, members of the local congregation attended services conducted by elders such as Thomas Hall, Neil McKinnon, and Ronald Campbell, the last having served in that capacity for 65 years. Rev. Goodwill was followed by other ministers who attended to Church of Scotland congregations across the province.

Around 1937, the building underwent some major improvements, including a new foundation, flooring, pews and a heating system. In 1954, a deed for the property was drawn up to transfer the ownership from the minister and trustees of the congregations of Coleman, Cape Traverse and DeSable to the Free Church of Scotland congregation in Summerside. Regular services continued with a "small but faithful" group of adherents until 1996. The church building was sold in January 1998.

The new owners carried out extensive renovations to convert it back into a residence.

Source: City of Summerside, Heritage Property Profile

Character-Defining Elements

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

- the one-and-one half storey massing and rectangular form
- the steeply pitched gable roof with asphalt shingles
- the gable roofed vestibule on the north elevation
- the cedar shingle cladding



Prince Edward Island

Recognition Authority

City of Summerside

Recognition Statute

Heritage Conservation Bylaw SS-20

Recognition Type

Registered Historic Place (Summerside)

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Philosophy and Spirituality

Function - Category and Type


Single Dwelling


Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Religious Facility or Place of Worship

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Summerside, Heritage Property Profiles

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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