Former Church of Scotland
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
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.
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
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
City of Summerside
Heritage Conservation Bylaw SS-20
Registered Historic Place (Summerside)
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
Location of Supporting Documentation
City of Summerside, Heritage Property Profiles
Cross-Reference to Collection