Description of Historic Place
129 Pownal Street is a wood framed, Second Empire style former home that now houses the offices of Catholic Family Services Bureau. It is located on the corner of Pownal Street and Grafton Street. The designation encompasses the building's exterior and parcel; it does not include the building's interior.
The heritage value of 129 Pownal Street lies in its Second Empire style architecture and its role in supporting the Pownal and Grafton Street streetscape.
Pownal House was built as a double tenement for local merchant, Thomas W. Dodd (1819-1902) in approximately 1884. Dodd, with his business partner, Benjamin Rogers operated the successful business, Dodd & Rogers, for many years. Dodd did not live in the home himself but rented it out. According to local directories, a number of residents lived in the home, including local music teacher, James E. Welsh, Provincial Auditor, R. DeBlois and grocer, Patrick Monaghan.
After Dodd's death, Henry Smith, the clerk of the county court, purchased the building and he would reside there for a number of years. In 1915, Mrs. Isabella MacMillan is listed as living there and another woman, Miss Christina MacMillan, who was likely related to Isabella MacMillan, is listed as a boarder until at least 1935. Christina MacMillan was a teacher at West Kent School.
In 1951, the Catholic Family Services Bureau moved its offices into 129 Pownal Street. Originally, working from the Charlottetown hospital and staffed by the Sisters of St. Martha, the organization was the first of its kind on Prince Edward Island. The home has been renamed Pownal House and now offers family services to the general public.
This Second Empire style home has retained many of its original details. The style is readily identified by its Mansard roof, named after François Mansart (1598-1666), and popularized by his son, Jules Hardoin Mansart, an architect who worked for France's King Louis XIV around 1700. The Mansard roof is almost flat on the top section and has deeply sloping, often curved, lower sections that generally contain dormers. The Second Empire referred to in the style is that of Napoleon III (1852-1870). The style reached Canada through Britain and the United States and was used extensively throughout Charlottetown from approximately 1860 until 1880.
Located on the corner of Pownal Street and Grafton Street, the attractive and well preserved building supports the Pownal and Grafton Street streetscapes.
Sources: Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2
The following Second Empire style character-defining elements contribute to the heritage value of 129 Pownal Street:
- The symmetrical massing of the home
- The Mansard roof
- The style and placement of the windows, including the tall windows and the dormer windows
- The size and off centre placement of the door with its transom light
- The pedimented dormers of the east side of the building
- The shed dormers of the north and south sides of the building
- The decorative detailing of the dormers painted in a contrasting colour
- The bracketing under the eaves
- The sunburst design in the pediment of the dormers and the small bracketting supporting them
- The size and shape of the chimney
Other character-defining elements of 129 Pownal Street include:
- The location of the home on the corner of Pownal Street and Grafton Street