45 Fitzroy Street / Fitzroy Hall
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
Fitzroy Hall is a well preserved Second Empire style house that was constructed in 1872 as a residence for Alexander Brown Esq., a local merchant. One of Prince Edward Island’s most popular Premiers and Father of Confederation, George Coles, lived in the home for a time, as did the family of merchant, S.A. MacDonald. Operated today as an inn, it is located on the corner of Fitzroy and Pownal Streets on a treed lot. The designation encompasses the building’s exterior and parcel; it does not include the building’s interior.
The heritage value of 45 Fitzroy Street lies in its association with Alexander Brown Esq.; its role as an excellent example of the Second Empire style in Charlottetown; and its importance to the Fitzroy Street streetscape.
Alexander Brown Esq. was the son and namesake of the Head Master of the Central Academy, Alexander Brown, Sr. The Central Academy was located on the grounds of the present Holland College campus in Charlottetown. It later became Prince of Wales College and after amalgamation with St. Dunstan's University in 1969, it became part of the University of Prince Edward Island. Interestingly, the educator’s three sons did not follow their father’s career path, but instead engaged in mercantile pursuits. Alexander Brown Esq. became a banker and merchant while his brothers, William and Ambrose, operated businesses on Richmond Street. It appears that Brown took his work home with him because a room on the first floor of 45 Fitzroy Street was used as a bank.
Alexander Brown’s wife, Georgianna, was the daughter of the Honourable George Coles. George Coles was a Father of Confederation, a popular Premier of Prince Edward Island and a merchant. Along with his political pursuits, he was a businessman who operated a store and brewery in Charlottetown. In later years, Coles would reside at 51 Fitzroy Street with his daughter.
Brown hired Thomas Essery to build his new home and construction began in 1872. According to the 13 July 1872 edition of the Semi-Weekly Patriot, the construction of the home was not without accident. During the shingling of the roof, five men fell to the ground when the scaffolding collapsed but happily, all survived the fall without major injury. Interestingly, before Brown purchased the land for his new home from the prominent Dr. John MacKieson, he had lived in a well known home on Brighton Road named Woodmore or the Nest.
45 Fitzroy Street is constructed in the Second Empire style. The empire referred to in the style is that of Napoleon III (1852-1870)of France. The style reached Canada through Britain and the United States and was used extensively throughout Charlottetown from approximately 1860 until 1880. Generally characterized by a Mansard roof, this home has a truncated hipped roof. The Mansard style of roof became popular in Charlottetown toward the latter half of the 1870s.
In 1911, the home was sold to Samuel A. MacDonald, a local merchant who owned and operated a local dry goods and clothing store at 129 Queen Street. According to his advertisements, he sold mens and ladies clothing, as well as millinery, carpet and oil cloth. The MacDonald family continued to live in the home until 1993.
45 Fitzroy was converted into a beautiful bed and breakfast and currently operates under the name, Fitzroy Hall. Located in an area with many beautiful heritage homes, 45 Fitzroy Street plays an important role in maintaining the heritage ambiance of the Fitzroy Street and Pownal Street streetscapes.
Sources: Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2
The following Second Empire influenced character-defining elements illustrate the heritage value of 45 Fitzroy Street:
- The massing of the building
- The symmetry of the facade
- The contrasting trim throughout the facade, including the cornice brackets, the scrollwork of the centrally placed porch and the classically detailed mouldings around windows and doors
- The size and placement of the windows, including the tall, large paned and paired two over two windows, the round arched window over the porch, and the hooded semi-circular dormer windows of the roof
- The style and placement of the doors, particularly the centrally placed paneled front door with its transom light and side lights as well as the eastern section’s door with its transom lights and side lights
- The centrally placed open porch with its columns, decorative cornice and iron cresting
- The verandah and porch of the eastern side of the home with its many windows, cornice, columns and balcony. The western side of the building has a balcony and verandah as well but it is not as large and has no porch.
- The style and placement of the hooded dormers
- The truncated hipped roof with its decorative roof brackets
- The size and placement of the chimneys
Other character-defining elements include:
- The location of the building on the corner of Fitzroy Street and Pownal Street on a treed lot
Prince Edward Island
City of Charlottetown
City of Charlottetown Zoning and Development Bylaw
Theme - Category and Type
- Developing Economies
- Trade and Commerce
- Governing Canada
- Politics and Political Processes
- 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