Hon. John Brecken House
185 King Street / Hon. John Brecken House
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Hon. John Brecken House is a wood framed, Georgian styled home that is located on historic King Street. The home is set back from the street on a large lot with mature trees and a picket fence surrounding the property. The designation encompasses the building’s exterior and parcel; it does not include the building’s interior.
The heritage value of the Hon. John Brecken House lies in its association with the prominent Brecken family, its age as one of the oldest wooden structures in the City, and its role in supporting the King Street streetscape.
John Brecken (1800-1847) was born into a prominent United Empire Loyalist family in Charlottetown. Due to John Brecken’s resources and those of his mother, Matilda Brecken (1777-1842), he had a large amount of money at his disposal and became a banker to many within the colony. Brecken became the resident director of the Bank of British North America in 1836 and was appointed deputy treasurer for the colony. He also acted as treasurer for the colony on a number of occasions.
Like many of his influential and wealthy relatives, he became involved in politics. Brecken began his political career by winning an 1829 by-election against James Bardin Palmer (1771-1833). Throughout his time in politics, he served in the Legislative Council, the Executive Council and the Legislative Assembly.
Brecken built his home in the centre of three town lots that made up the property in 1832. The house had a huge front of 225 feet on the King Street side. After Brecken passed away in 1847, his home was advertised for sale. The large property consisted of “a commodious two storey house, stable, coach house, and other outbuildings as well as an excellent kitchen garden and lawn, all enclosed with a black thorn hedge.” Although the home was advertised for rent, it did not pass out of the family and was owned by John Brecken’s son, Frederick de St. Croix Brecken (1828-1903), and later, Leith and Helen Brecken until 1907. Later owners included, stationmaster, John L. Thompson and customs officer, Archibald MacKinnon. The home now serves as an apartment building.
Although the property is not as large as it once was, the home is still set on a substantial lot compared to the homes around it. According to Charlottetown historian, Irene Rogers in her 1983 book, Charlottetown: The Life In Its Buildings, local seniors could recall garden parties that were once hosted at the property. A lovely home and a landmark in Charlottetown, the Hon. John Brecken House adds a great deal to the King Street streetscape.
Sources: Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2
The following character-defining elements illustrate the Georgian influenced heritage value of 185 King Street / Hon. John Brecken House:
- The rectangular plan
- The overall symmetry of the facade
- The style and placement of the windows including, the tall six over six windows of the front facade, with their simple mouldings
- The central placement of the door, as well as the interesting porch of the facade with its gable roof and eave returns
- The gable roof with decorative brackets
- The style and placement of the chimney
Other character-defining elements of 185 King Street are:
- The location of Hon. John Brecken House which is set back from the street on a large lot with mature trees and picket fence
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
- Multiple Dwelling
- 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