Description of Historic Place
The Peck Memorial Hall is a two-and-a-half storey Classical Edwardian institutional building from the early 20th century. It is distinguished by its front-facing hipped roof, its large dormers and its classically-inspired entrance. It is located on Main Street in Hillsborough.
The Peck Memorial Hall is designated a Local Historic Place for its association with Lieut. George Bishop Peck, for its history of serving the community and for its architecture.
On October 30, 1917 the First World War battle of Passchendaele claimed the life of Lieut. George Bishop Peck. Before the battle Lieut. Peck wrote to his father requesting, in the event of his death, that his share of the family’s fortune be used for the benefit of the whole community, particularly the young people of Albert County. His father was Mr. John L. Peck, local bank owner and member of the Provincial Legislature who was involved in manufacturing and mercantile concerns. On November 30, 1921 Lieut. Peck’s last request was realized when this building was dedicated to the memory of fallen heroes of Albert County. His father, who had financed the cost of construction, deeded ownership of the Hall over to the people of the county.
The Peck Memorial Hall was the first building in Canada to be erected in memory of those who sacrificed their lives during the Great War, 1914-1918. Fifty-three of the young men who marched away from their Albert County homes were never to return. Commemorating these ‘boys’ (as they are always referred), are six stained glass windows. Each window, measuring 2.1m by 1m, represents an Albert County community: Hopewell, Harvey, Elgin, Alma, Coverdale and Hillsborough. The windows, draped in Union Jack flags, were assembled in the church across the street on dedication day. One by one, they were unveiled by the mother or wife of one of the fallen. Two veterans then carried the window, first to the church altar to be blessed, and then across the street to the new hall where it was mounted in the west wall of the building. Remembering the request of his only son, Mr. J. L. Peck, MLA, addressed the large gathering with the following, “This Hall will belong to you as much as to me and I hope it will always remind you of the great sacrifices our boys made overseas.”
For eighty-five years the Peck Memorial Hall served the community by hosting such events as Remembrance Day dinners, dances, receptions, weddings, entertainments of all kinds and sports for the young. In 2008, The Lieut. George B. Peck Memorial Hall was sold and converted into apartments. The six stained glass windows were removed and installed in the Legion Hall on Legion Street.
The basement of the Peck Memorial Hall is occupied by the Hillsborough Masonic Lodge, Howard Lodge #15. Howard Lodge #15 received its charter in 1855 and has met on the first Tuesday of every month for the last one hundred and fifty-five years. The Hall is the third lodge room in the community to be occupied by Howard Lodge during its existence.
The Peck Memorial Hall is a good example of Edwardian Classism from the first quarter of the 20th century. This style is evident in such features as the form and massing, the classical front portico, the hipped roof and the window treatments.
Source: Heritage Hillsborough, William Henry Steeves House Museum, Local Historic Places files
The character-defining elements relating to the exterior of the Peck Memorial Hall include:
- two-and-a-half storey rectangular massing;
- front-facing hipped roof;
- cut sandstone and brick chimney;
- dormers with pediments;
- hipped roof dormer on the front façade;
- double-hung windows with sandstone lintels and sills;
- sandstone sheathing;
- casement windows;
- cement foundation;
- wide cement steps with wrought iron railings;
- open portico consisting of a large pediment supported by four evenly-spaced round pillars resting on cement abutments;
- moulded eaves;
- central main entrance with sidelights.