Description of Historic Place
This large imposing residence at 39 Eustane Street was built to face the harbour and was once part of a six acre property which ran back to Harvard Street. The Georgian style building is on the east side of the street and has a symmetrical facade with central entrance, rectangular windows, and tall paired chimneys. It is clad in white vinyl with brown wooden trim. It has a flat hipped roof which once had a cupola. A gable roofed extension is located to the north of the main house.
The house is valued for its Georgian architectural style; its historical association with John R. Calhoun; and for its contribution to the streetscape.
The original owner and occupant of the house was Saint John native John Reuben Calhoun who resided in Summerside from 1870 to 1882. He is believed to have come to the Island order to enter into co-partnership with James L. Holman in a wholesale business. Mr. Holman was also a native of Saint John and the two men were married to sisters, Sarah and Ada Longmaid. The land on which Mr. Calhoun built his house was purchased from James L. Holman in June 1870 and the residence was most likely constructed that year or the next.
Mr. Calhoun built a large steam mill in 1875 at the south end of his property adjacent to the railway tracks. It was at a time when Summerside was growing rapidly and the business, known as Calhoun's Sash and Door Factory and Planing Mill, employed twelve to fifteen men. In April 1881, Mr. Calhoun took into partnership W.T. Newman and the name of the company was changed to Calhoun and Newman. Later that year, Theo J. Clark bought the mill and yard, which eventually became the property of the M.F. Schurman Company Limited. The Calhoun family left PEI and soon settled back in Saint John. Today, the street that ran through the property is named for them.
The purchaser of the house was merchant Elisha Hooper Wright, who had grown up in Bedeque. Mr. Wright was 36 years of age and married to Maggie Clark of Darnley. He and his brother, Norman, had purchased the retail business of Robert A. Strong and renamed it Wright Brothers. In 1884, Norman moved to Victoria, PEI, to open a branch store, and Elisha conducted the business in Summerside.
The advertisement for the house had stated: "The Dwelling contains eight Bedrooms, besides Parlor, Sitting, Dining and Bath Rooms, inside and outside Kitchens... The cellar is stone and brick and frost proof... The grounds are large and very suitable for a Hotel... There is a large Barn and Hennery on the premises. The east, west and south sides are surrounded by Elms, Maple, Lilac and Fruit trees, which gives the premises a rustic appearance." The purchaser of the property was Harry T. Holman, well known as one of the owners of the large mercantile firm of R.T. Holman Limited. Mr. Holman was married to Constance Eva, a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Wright. He resold the Eustane Street property to local bakery owner, H.H. Lefurgey.
Henry Havelock Lefurgey, known commonly as Havelock or Hally, was born in 1858 to William and Jerusha Lefurgey of Wilmot. In 1911, his wife, Minnie Steeves, died leaving no children. A 1913 photograph of the residence appeared in the Charlottetown Guardian, describing it as: "a magnificent residence, surrounded by beautiful grounds."
In 1915, Mr. Lefurgey married Violet Gay who was much younger. Later that year he sold the Toronto Bakery "one of Summerside's oldest and best established businesses" to Gerald Mulligan and Wilfrid Kelly. The building in which the bakery was located still stands at 199 Water Street. He was well known in the community and his obituary in 1937 called him "one of the old school of gentlemen with a high sense of honor and citizenship." Mrs. Lefurgey stayed in the house until 1940 with her three daughters.
In 1941, Violet (Lefurgey) Nicholson, who had remarried and moved to Charlottetown, sold the property to local contractor Allan W. Palmer who had come from Freeland, PEI to Summerside around 1931. He converted the former Lefurgey home into several apartments and rented them to airmen who were working at RCAF Station Summerside during the Second World War. It became known as the Palmer Apartments and was never a single dwelling again. The house, divided into five apartment units since 1950, was sold by the Palmer daughter in 1987 and has had several owners since that time.
Source: City of Summerside, Heritage Property Profile
The heritage value of the house is shown in the following character-defining elements:
- the two storey massing and rectangular footprints of both sections of the building
- the hipped roof with flat top
- the symmetrical paired chimneys
- the symmetrical arrangement of windows
- the bracketed bay windows on the east and west elevations
- the one-and-one-half storey gable roofed extension on the north elevation
- the shed roofed porch attached to the extension
- the gable dormers on the west elevation with decorative intricate eave decoration and Romanesque windows with eared caps