Description of Historic Place
12 West Street is a wood framed, Queen Anne Revival style house located on the corner of West Street and Grafton Street. It was once the residence of merchant, James Eden and later the home of former Lieutenant Governor George DesBrisay DeBlois (1887-1958). The designation encompasses the building's exterior and parcel; it does not include the building's interior.
The heritage value of 12 West Street lies in its Queen Anne Revival architecture, its association with James Eden, its connection with Lieutenant Governor George DesBrisay DeBlois and its role in supporting the West and Grafton Street streetscapes.
12 West Street was built for successful wine merchant and tavern owner, James Eden in 1897. Records indicate that before moving to the fine house, Eden lived and operated a tavern at 87 Pownal Street, near to what was then the local jail. Business must have been brisk however, as he hired prominent local architect, C.B. Chappell to design his new beautiful Queen Anne Revival house in the west end of Charlottetown. Eden spared no expense in the construction of his home using sycamore and oak for the interior finishing. He would live at 12 West Street until 1923, when it was purchased by merchant and future Lieutenant Governor, George DeBlois.
George DeBlois was a successful wholesale merchant and exporter. He was President of the long successful, DeBlois Brothers firm. He married Marion Newbery who was the daughter of Charlottetown's famous amateur horticulturist, Arthur Newbery. After the DeBlois Family moved to the Lieutenant Governor's mansion, Allen B. Cosh moved in to 12 West Street.
The Queen Anne Revival style of architecture was popular in Charlottetown from about 1880 until approximately 1910. The style was created by architect R.N. Shaw and incorporated some of the classical motifs fashionable during Queen Anne's reign (1704-1714). The Queen Anne Revival style is characterized by large asymmetrical structures, turrets and a variety of steep rooflines, as well as decorative shingles and siding. 12 West Street remains a well-preserved example of this style in the City.
The extraordinary Queen Anne Revival style home is a compliment to the streetscape. A very grand house in an area that features many elaborate homes, the 12 West Street stands out.
Sources: Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2
The following Queen Anne Revival style character-defining elements illustrate the heritage value of 12 West Street:
- The overall massing of the building
- The building's wood framed construction with its variety of wood cladding
- The style and placement of the bay windows, as well as the grouped windows
- The style and placement of the doors with their transom lights
- The beautiful wrap around verandah of the first floor with its stone bases, grouped classical columns and pediments over the two entrances
- The curved balcony of the second floor facade, with its grouped columns
- The multiple gables of the roof
- The turret, with its sloping hexagonal roof
- The various decorative details, including the eave brackets, cornices, the decorative bargeboard along the gables and the various contrasting mouldings throughout the building's exterior
- The style and placement of the chimney
Other character-defining elements of 12 West Street:
- The location of the building on the corner of Grafton Street and West Street