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Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Stamper Block is a large Italianate-Commercial influenced, stone and brick commercial building located on the corner of Queen and Richmond Streets. The building is situated at the entrance to Victoria Row, a row of Victorian buildings, in a traditionally commercial part of Charlottetown. The area now features outdoor cafes, gift shops and craft shops. The designation encompasses the building’s exterior and parcel; it does not include the building’s interior.
The heritage value of the Stamper Block lies in its Italianate- Commercial architecture, its association with the Stamper Family and its location within Victoria Row, a tangible reminder of Charlottetown’s commercial heritage.
The Stamper Family owned and resided at the property in a wooden house for many years, before the present building was constructed. When Henry Stamper and Catherine Pippy married in 1841, the property was part of Catherine’s inheritance. The Stampers sold stationary and books from their store at this location. Their children, Sarah and Eva Stamper, eventually inherited the property and had the building that we see today constructed in 1892. The wooden home that formerly stood on the property was moved north to Grafton Street.
The Misses Stamper hired well-known architects, Chappell and Phillips to design the new Stamper Block. Contractors, McDonald and Harper, were in charge of constructing the large building. Because of the Fire of 1884, that had destroyed most of the buildings along Victoria Row, with the exception of Stamper’s previous wooden home, there had been a great deal of construction of new brick and stone buildings in this section of Richmond Street. The new Stamper Block was in keeping with Italianate Commercial influenced style of the new buildings.
The choice of the Italianate influenced commercial building style was a popular one in the late 19th Century. It was considered more fireproof than the wooden structures in invariably replaced. The design was also more decorative, being reminiscent of the Venetian arcades of the Renaissance period. The Stamper Block remains on the City's most well preserved examples of this style.
The Stamper Block housed a variety of tenants throughout the years including shopkeepers and bankers. R.K Jost’s shoe store had occupied the corner section of the building for many years. In old photos of the building, a giant boot that was part of the sign on the north elevation of the building is very prominent. After Jost’s store closed, there was concern that the old sign might fall and injure a passerby; however approximately twenty years later, a newspaper reported that it took three men working the better part of an afternoon, to remove the sign.
After Jost’s shoe store closed, the Bank of New Brunswick moved into the location. In 1915, the fox farming industry was booming and the Canada Fox Exchange and Investment Company moved into the building. They remained until 1929.
In 1913, the Prowse Bros. Store who would remain much longer than the previous tenants, moved into the building. “The wonderful cheap men” as they were known in their advertisements, remained in business until the 1960s.
The area has been historically commercial in nature, however in recent years Victoria Row, on which part of the Stamper Block faces, has been open to pedestrian traffic in the summer months and features many shops and restaurants with outdoor patios and live music. The row of heritage buildings is a nice contrast to the modern Confederation Centre of the Arts complex directly across the street. The Stamper Block is a vital component of Victoria Row and Queen Street, two of the most important and well-preserved historic streets in Charlottetown.
Sources: Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2
The following Italianate commercial character-defining elements illustrate the heritage value of the Stamper Block:
- The overall massing of the building
- The style and placement of the brick and stone throughout the facade, including the various brick and freestone decorative mouldings and detailing. The small terra cotta face located between the fanlights on the Queen Street side is a particularly interesting detail.
- The placement and style of the windows, including: the large plate glass storefront windows with transom lights of the first floor Victoria Row side; the two over two window with fanlights of the Queens Street side; the tall windows of the second floor Victoria Row side; and the windows of the third floor with lunettes.
- The placement and style of the doors, particularly the door located on the corner and the door in the eastern section of the first floor facade.
- The storefront with its sign bands, large plate glass windows, recessed door with transom lights and large awning.
- The freestone sign with the name and the date the building was constructed, in the lintel course above the door.
- The flat roof with various decoration along the roofline
Other character-defining elements of the Stamper Block are:
- The location of the building on Victoria Row and Queen Street
Prince Edward Island
City of Charlottetown
City of Charlottetown Zoning and Development Bylaw
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Trade and Commerce
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
Function - Category and Type
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Office or Office Building
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2
Cross-Reference to Collection