J.H. Downe House, Inns on Great George
123 Dorchester Street, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, C1A, Canada
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The J.H. Downe House, Inns on Great George is a wood framed, former home in the shallow gable style. It was once the home of local joiner, or carpenter, James H. Downe. It remained a residence for much of its existence but has been converted into part of the Inns on Great George, a group of historic inns in Old Charlottetown. The building still bears the name of J.H. Downe. The designation encompasses the building’s exterior and parcel; it does not include the building’s interior.
The heritage value of the J.H. Downe House lies in its shallow gable style architecture, its association with J.H. Downe, its association with James Peake and its importance to the Dorchester Street streetscape.
The shallow gabled or low-pitched roof is rare in civic architecture in PEI. This roofline is more commonly used in cottage style houses.
It is unclear when 123 Dorchester Street was built, but we can assume that it was sometime in the early 1840s. We know that local carpenter, James H. Downe was living in the home in 1845, when he built the large hotel and store next door, once referred to as London house but now an inn called the Pavilion. 123 Dorchester Street was built in the shallow gable style. This style is found in great numbers elsewhere but is not often seen in Charlottetown.
Downe sold 123 Dorchester Street to prominent shipbuilder, James Peake in 1849. Peake, whose estate owned the home until at least 1895, using it as a rental property. James Peake emigrated from Plymouth England to PEI in 1823. During the course of his stay in PEI, he would own some 152 vessels engaged in the booming North Atlantic timber trade and other coastal trading ventures. This made him one of the most successful businessmen in 19th Century PEI. With his health failing by 1856, he returned to the United Kingdom, dying in 1860.
The former residence has been renovated within the last ten years to become part of the Inns on Great George, a group of historic inns in Old Charlottetown. As a very old home that has been sympathetically renovated, the J.H. Downe house is an important part of the Dorchester Street streetscape.
Sources: Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2
The following shallow gable style character defining elements illustrate the heritage value of J.H. Downe House:
- The overall massing of the building with its various additions
- The placement and style of the windows, especially the large windows of the facade with side lights, the large two over two windows and the small window in the facade gable
- The placement and style of the doors, particularly the large, centrally placed panelled door of the facade.
- The style and placement of the front porch with its rounded columns and cornice
- The contrasting mouldings and trim running throughout the building’s exterior
- The gabled roofline
Other character defining elements of the J.H. Downe House are:
- The location of the building near the corner of Dorchester and Great George Street.
Prince Edward Island
City of Charlottetown
City of Charlottetown Zoning and Development Bylaw
Theme - Category and Type
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
Function - Category and Type
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Hotel, Motel or Inn
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2
Cross-Reference to Collection