Description of Historic Place
122 North River Road is a wood framed, Italianate style, former home that is located on a large treed lot. The fine home or "Model Cottage" as it was once known, was built in approximately 1858. It served as a single residence for many years but now serves as the Dawson House Bed and Breakfast. The designation encompasses the building's exterior and parcel; it does not include the building's interior.
The heritage value of 122 North River Road lies in its association with various prominent Charlottetown residents; its attractive Italianate influenced architecture; and its role in supporting the streetscape.
The home was built for City Tannery owner, William B. Dawson. His tannery operated from Grafton Street in the City of Charlottetown. His large operation supplied many of the boot and shoe factories, as well as the saddlers in Charlottetown. In 1867, Dawson left suddenly for Illinois, owing a great deal of money to various creditors. According to the 16 November 1867 edition of the Daily Patriot newspaper, the estate of W.B. Dawson including the "Model Cottage" was to be sold at auction in front of the Colonial Building (Province House). The property was described as including 2 acres of grounds, a stable, a coach house, a milk house, a coalhouse and a large garden all surrounded by a "substantial fence".
Unfortunately, the home was struck by fire in 1891, however it was rebuilt. A beautiful home, it has been remodeled a number of times.
The home is Italianate influenced in its style. The Italianate style was a common choice in Charlottetown for public buildings however, 122 North River Road is a fine example of the style in a residential form. The Italianate style comes from the English Picturesque tradition and was a response to the widely used formal classical styles. Italianate homes are similar to the villas of the Italian countryside with their asymmetrical massing, square towers with a low pitched roof and round headed windows with wooden mouldings.
The home has changed hands a number of times throughout its history. The prominent Heartz family owned it for a number of years. They were the owners of several businesses in Charlottetown and active politically. According to local directories, the Smallwood family lived at 122 North River Road for a time. Charles R. Smallwood was a lawyer in Charlottetown who practised alone and in partnership with A.B. Warburton. V.C. Smallwood of V.C. Smallwood Laboratories was a later resident. In the latter years of the Twentieth Century, 122 North River Road was home to popular Prince Edward Island Premier, Joseph A. Ghiz and his family.
The home currently operates as the Dawson House Bed and Breakfast. As a handsome and well preserved house, it is an asset to the North River Road streetscape.
Sources: Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2
The following Italianate influenced character-defining elements illustrate the heritage value of 122 North River Road:
- The asymmetrical massing of the building
- The various sizes and placement of the windows, including the grouped windows, the arched windows and the dormer windows
- The style and placement of the doors
- The gable roofs of the home with their wide eave overhang and heavy paired bracketing
- The style and placement of the large chimneys
- The wooden mouldings and decorative trim of the home all painted in a contrasting colour
- The porch of the west side with its balustrade and columns as well as the balconies of the second and third floor with their ornate treillage
- The large, off centre tower with gable roof and belvedere
Other character-defining elements of 122 North River Road include:
- The location of the building on North River Road
- The large treed lot with curved driveway