Description of Historic Place
28-30 Brighton Road is one half of a wood framed, Queen Anne Revival influenced, double tenement that was moved to its present location from Great George Street in approximately 1890. The building is one of a line of buildings on Brighton Road, between Ambrose Street and Greenfield Avenue, that prominent architect, William Critchlow Harris designed or renovated. The designation encompasses the building's exterior and parcel; it does not include the building's interior.
The heritage value of 28-30 Brighton Road lies in its association with the Charlottetown hotel, Revere House; its association with prominent architect William Critchlow Harris; and its part in supporting the Brighton Road streetscape.
28-30 Brighton Road is constructed from what was once the Revere House, a hotel on Great George Street, originally located over a kilometer away from 28-30 Brighton Road! Revere House stood at the head of the wharf from which the Maritime Steam Navigation Company operated its regular route. The hotel accommodated passengers from various ships and was quite successful, which makes it surprising when we learn that in 1886, the building was sold to the Charlottetown Hospital. They planned to enlarge the building and convert it for use as a hospital. It is not clear why the plan did not come to fruition but in 1890, the building was advertised for sale. Prominent architect, William Critchlow Harris purchased the Revere House and had it moved to its present location on Brighton Road where it was converted into tenements. The building next door, 24 and 26 Brighton Road, is also constructed from the former hotel.
It is not clear how much of the building was dismantled before the move. In historian Irene Rogers 1983 book, Charlottetown: The Life In Its Buildings, an elderly resident of Charlottetown, Victor Purdie, recalled lumber from exhibition buildings that existed on the south side of Brighton Road, being used in the tenements. The exhibition buildings were being torn down in 1890 when the exhibition was moved to a site on Kensington Road. Purdie remembered seeing large numbers on boards that had once been the doors of the horse barns.
At the time that 28-30 Brighton Road was constructed, Government Pond stretched to Brighton Road from the Charlottetown Harbour and the land nearby was marshy. Likely hoping that the City would improve the land, W.C. Harris offered the clay from the foundations of his new buildings for use as fill. Unfortunately, the City did not accept his offer. As the years went by however, the land was improved and the size of Brighton Pond was reduced considerably.
The new building was influenced by the Queen Anne Revival style, a style that was somewhat subdued in Charlottetown compared with other provinces. It was a popular style in Charlottetown from approximately 1880 until 1910. Richard N. Shaw (1831-1912), a British architect, created the style that incorporated some of the classical motifs popular during Queen Anne's reign (1702-1714). Features of the style include porches and complex details, such as eclectic wall surfaces. The large structure shows some of the Queen Anne Revival characteristics.
28-30 Brighton Road has had various tenants throughout its history. According to local telephone and provincial directories, in 1915, the Manager of the local Sun Life Insurance Company office, T. Edgar McNutt resided in the 28 side of 28-30 Brighton Road and the Manager of the local branch of the Royal Bank, A.W. Hyndman lived in the 30 Brighton Road section. Later, in 1924, Kenneth J. Martin, a Barrister for the firm of K.J. & K.M. Martin, Barristers, is listed at 28 Brighton Road and Richard Smith appears to have lived in the other side. Unlike the neighbouring building at 24 and 26 Brighton Road, which was also made from the former Revere Hotel building, 28-30 Brighton Road is not split into two parts or owned separately.
The building is still a multiple dwelling and plays host to tourists throughout the year as the Brighton Tourist Apartment. Like many of the buildings in this section of Brighton Road, it is a well kept example of the work of one of Prince Edward Island's most famous architects. It is an asset to the Brighton Road streetscape.
Sources: Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2
The heritage value of 28-30 Brighton Road is illustrated through the following Queen Anne Revival inspired character-defining elements:
- The massing of the building
- The wooden construction
- The various sizes and placement of the windows, particularly the slightly larger paired windows of the first floor and the dormer windows
- The size and placement of the front doors
- The decorative details of the building including the simple trim, the treillage of the first and second floor porch and the fish scale wooden shingle cladding of the second floor porch of the facade
- The pitch of the large gable roof and the pitch of the roof between the first and second level
- The style and placement of the large chimneys
- The overall massing and details of both sides of the building that are a mirror image of one another.
Other character-defining elements of 28-30 Brighton Road include:
- The symmetry of the facade
- The location of the building on Brighton Road on a treed lot
- The position of 28-30 Brighton Road next to 24 and 26 Brighton Road and the similarity of both properties