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Summerside City Hall

45 Summer Street, Summerside, Prince Edward Island, C1N, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2005/02/21

Showing 1915 clock tower and 2003 new addition; Wyatt Heritage Properties, Richard Games, 2004
Summerside City Hall
Showing detail of carving above entrance; MacNaught History Centre and Archives, Natalie Griffith, 2005
Summerside City Hall
From a circa. 1907 postcard; MacNaught History Centre and Archives, Summerside Historical Society Collection, 18.067
Summerside Post Office and Customs Office

Other Name(s)

Old Post Office
Summerside City Hall

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1884/01/01 to 1886/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2005/03/30

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

This imposing mid-1880s Romanesque Revival postal and customs services building was built of brick and sandstone at the intersection of Summer and Fitzroy Streets in Summerside, PEI. The building now serves as Summerside City Hall. The designation is limited to the footprint of the original post office building.

Heritage Value

The heritage value of Summerside City Hall resides in its role as a public services building beginning in 1886 and continuing to the present. The government of the Dominion of Canada built it between 1884 and 1886 to serve as a post office and customs office and to establish a federal government presence in Summerside. Its role as a customs house is also significant because it reflects Summerside’s years as a busy international seaport. In 1953, the post office built a new building and sold its former home to the Town of Summerside. When the original town hall burnt in 1955, the old post office became home to the town offices.

Further heritage value exists in the building’s role as a downtown meeting place. During its term as a post office, people met there to share the latest news and that purpose continued in its role as the home to local government. The clock tower has served as a beacon, drawing residents and visitors to this most impressive of public buildings in the town.

Heritage value also resides in its architecture. Built of brick and sandstone, the former post office is the only example of a Romanesque Revival public building within city limits. It was designed by Thomas Fuller, the Chief Architect of the Dominion Department of Public Works. An interesting element is the carving above the Summer Street entrance that features the head of a pig amongst the doves, reputedly the work of a disgruntled sculptor. In 1915, a clock tower was added and quickly became a local landmark.

The building’s continued importance to the community is reflected in its ability to survive various changes in use, renovations and an attempt to demolish it and build anew. In 2003, an architecturally sympathetic expansion extended the structure eastward along the north side of Fitzroy to better serve its role as the centre of operations of the newly-incorporated City of Summerside.

The heritage value of the structure has also been recognised by the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada through its designation as a National Historic Site in 1983.

Source: City of Summerside Heritage Property Profile

Character-Defining Elements

Characteristics of the Romanesque Revival style found in the Summerside City Hall include:
- heavy masonry look accomplished by use of brick and rough-cut stone
- string courses, lintels and other details in contrasting freestone
- compound arches over the main entrances
- cushion capital beside southwest entrance
- Location, arrangement and size of windows, which are recessed and vary in size and shape
- hipped roof and dormers

Other Character Defining Elements include:
- Carvings above Summer Street entrances
- Clock tower with four original faces and original clockworks (1915)
- Panelled doors on Summer Street that feature scenes of local themes
- One storey Customs House wing on south side of building
- Copper eavestroughing

Recognition

Jurisdiction

Prince Edward Island

Recognition Authority

City of Summerside

Recognition Statute

Heritage Conservation Bylaw SS-20

Recognition Type

Designated Heritage Property

Recognition Date

2005/02/21

Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1915/01/01 to 1915/01/01
1953/01/01 to 1953/01/01
1955/01/01 to 1955/01/01
2003/01/01 to 2003/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Governing Canada
Government and Institutions
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type

Current

Government
Town or City Hall

Historic

Government
Post Office

Architect / Designer

Thomas Fuller

Builder

n/a

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

MacNaught History Centre and Archives, Wyatt Heritage Properties, P.O. Box 1510, Summerside, PEI, C1N 4K4

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier

SS-20-A7

Status

Published

Related Places

n/a

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