238 Pownal Street / Carmichael-MacKieson House
First Governor's House
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
238 Pownal Street is a Regency style home set back from the street on a large treed lot. Built in 1820 by Colonial Secretary, John Edward Carmichael, it has been home to various prominent Charlottetown citizens. The designation encompasses the building’s exterior and parcel; it does not include the building’s interior.
The heritage value of 238 Pownal Street lies in its Regency influenced design, its association with Colonial Secretary, John Edward Carmichael (c.1790- 1828) and its association with prominent Charlottetown physician, Dr. John MacKieson (1795-1885).
John Edward Carmichael built 238 Pownal Street at some point in the 1820s. Carmichael, whose father in law was Governor Charles Douglas Smith, was a prominent individual and his beautifully detailed home reflects his position in the community. When he first came to Prince Edward Island, he was a lieutenant in the 104th Foot Regiment but in 1813, he became the private secretary to Lieutenant Governor Charles Douglas Smith. One year later, he married Smith’s daughter, Frederica Ubrica Charletta Catherina Smith. He was appointed Receiver General of quit rents in 1813, Colonial Secretary, Registrar and Clerk of the Council in 1819. Upon his death in 1828, Carmichael’s estate offered his home for rent.
Chief Justice Edward Jarvis leased the property for two years before it was sold to settle the Carmichael Estate. The purchaser of the home was well-known Charlottetown physician and surgeon, Dr. John MacKieson. He was a resident of the home for over 50 years. For a time he conducted his office hours from the first floor of 238 Pownal Street. A charitable man, he offered free medical care to poor residents of Charlottetown on Saturdays. His medical records and diaries have survived and continue to give us a detailed view of the life of a physician and surgeon of the 19th Century. MacKieson’s wife, Matilda Brecken was a member of the prominent and influential Loyalist family, the Breckens. The MacKieson Family lived in the home for approximately 50 years. He willed the property to his unmarried daughter Lelia Matilda. The Sterns Family later inhabited the property.
The Regency style home was constructed with great attention to detail. The Regency style was used in Charlottetown from approximately 1820 until 1840. The form was influenced by the public’s increasing taste for the picturesque and architectural forms from other British colonies. Most Regency style homes are one or one and one half storeys with low hip roofs and have a villa or cottage like appearance. 238 Pownal Street has the verandah, centrally placed door, and large first floor windows common to Regency styled homes. MacKieson took good care of his home, mentioning its maintenance frequently in his journal. A sale notice advertised the home as having imported trees from England and its own well. It was very uncommon in Charlottetown for residents to have their own well one block from their home let alone on their own property.
238 Pownal Street is a fine example of the Regency architectural style in Charlottetown. With its large property and well-kept appearance, the home helps support the streetscape. Its association with some of Charlottetown’s more prominent individuals adds to its historic value.
Location of the Supporting Documentation: Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown PE, C1A 7K2
The following Regency influenced character-defining elements illustrate the heritage value of 238 Pownal Street:
- The overall massing and symmetrical proportions of the building
- The placement and style of the windows, including the large first floor windows which open onto the gallery, as well as the large windows on the sides of the house. The oculus window in the upper gable and the placement and style of the windows of the dormers and the belvedere.
- The size and placement of the centrally placed door with its semicircular transom light, which is divided into an interesting pattern formed by glazing bars
- The classical details such as the pilasters and columns that form part of the gallery, as well as the temple like central gable of the second floor
- The mouldings throughout the home’s exterior that have been painted in a contrasting colour
- The gallery of the first floor with its columns grouped in pairs, as well as the balustrade
- The second floor balcony with its balustrade
- The pitch of the rooflines
- The small belvedere with its hipped roofline
- The very tall chimneys
Other character-defining elements include:
- The location of the home, set back from the street on a treed lot. The property, at one time, had a gate but the gate has been removed
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
- 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