Description of Historic Place
This three storey Second Empire style house is prominently located in the village of Murray Harbour on the south side of the bridge which spans the river. It retains many original elements including the mansard roof with gable roof dormers and bracketted eaves, the original fenestration of rectangular windows, clapboard cladding, and the front verandah with decorative bracketting.
The house is valued for its well preserved Second Empire architectural style, for its historical association with Senator Samuel Prowse, and for its contribution to the village of Murray Harbour.
Samuel Prowse was born in Charlottetown on August 28, 1835. He was the son of William Prowse who emigrated to Prince Edward Island from Devonshire, England, in 1823. In 1852, Samuel married Eliza Willis and after her death, he married her sister, Louise Willis in 1861.
Samuel began a business with his brother in Charlottetown in 1856, but later moved to Murray Harbour in 1859 where he became a successful general merchant. He was also engaged in cabinet making as well as fishing and shipping enterprises.
He became involved in politics in 1867, when he was first elected as a Conservative to the Legislative Assembly for the district of 4th Kings. He was subsequently re-elected in the general elections of 1876, 1879, and 1886. He was a member of the coalition government of Louis Henry Davies in 1876. He was later in the government of William W. Sullivan. He resigned from the House of Assembly in 1889 when he was appointed by Sir John A. Macdonald to the Senate where he served until his death in 1902.
As a symbol of his personal success and social position, Samuel Prowse had this substantial home constructed in the village of Murray Harbour around 1875. It was built in the Second Empire style which was popular at the time. The integrity of the style remains largely intact. Under the wide eave of the mansard roof is a wide cornice and above each of the second storey windows are paired brackets. The first storey windows have bracketed hood moulding. A verandah sweeps across the front elevation and retains gingerbread decoration around its posts. It once also featured iron cresting on its roof. Interesting interior features include black marble fireplaces and frosted glass doors. The first storey ceilings are ten feet high.
The property was inherited by Samuel's son, Albert Prowse (1858-1925) who had entered the family business in 1872. He also was active in provincial politics and died in office as a member of the Legislative Assembly.
The house eventually became of the property of Gerald Prowse, Samuel's grandson. He and his wife operated the Prowse Hotel from the premises. Many of their guests included those associated with the railway including the train master. The hotel also hosted hockey banquets, weddings, and other local social events. Today, the house is once again a private dwelling.
Source: Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Tourism and Culture, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
File #: 4310-20/K9
The heritage value of the house is shown in the following character-defining elements:
- the three storey massing and wood frame construction
- the mansard roof with gable roof dormers
- the decorative brackets of the dormers
- the wide eaves with bracketted cornice above each second storey window
- the brick chimneys
- the wood clapboard cladding
- the original fenestration with bracketted hood moulding
- the verandah with posts and gingerbread decoration