Description of Historic Place
40 Queen Street is a large two storey, wood framed commercial building. It is also influenced by the Second Empire style with its mansard roof and roof dormers. It is located on Queen Street in a traditionally commercial area of Charlottetown. The designation encompasses the building's exterior and parcel; it does not include the building's interior.
The historic value of 40 Queen Street lies in its role in the commercial history of Charlottetown; its Second Empire influenced architecture; and its contribution to the streetscape.
It is unclear when 40 Queen Street was constructed, but it was at some point after the Great Fire of 1866, which almost completely devastated the block. It is known that the building was constructed before 1880 because a building appears on the site in J.H. Meacham's 1880 Illustrated Historical Atlas of PEI. The building has had a number of uses throughout its history. It has served as a barbershop, a cobbler's or shoemaker's shop and a second hand shop. It was also rumoured that the building was used for a less legal purpose during Prohibition when it served the thirsty residents of Charlottetown as a clandestine tavern.
An article from the 2 December 1922 edition of the local newspaper, the Guardian, reported that 40 Queen Street was occupied by Sydney T. Green's wholesale confectionery. He had previously been a part of the Carvell Bros. firm, a large wholesale firm located down the street. According to the article, the previous occupant of 40 Queen Street was George Moore. It is unclear whether Green stayed in this location long. According to the 1928 telephone directory, A. Aylward operated an oyster shop and grocery store from the premises. Interestingly, as late as the 1970s, another oyster shop- Vail's Oyster Shop was located in the building. It now serves as office space.
40 Queen Street with its Mansard roofline, square dormers and bracketing at the roofline shows Second Empire influences. The style is most identified by its Mansard roof, which was named after François Mansart (1598-1666), and popularized by his son, Jules Hardoin Mansart, an architect who worked for 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. 40 Queen Street has undergone renovations since the 1970s. Arched windows and new doors with transom lights have been added to the facade at the ground level but the Mansard roofline and second story windows have not changed.
40 Queen Street is one of two very similar buildings which stood side by side on this block. The other building is no longer standing, but the outline of the mansard roofline is visible on the north wall of the brick building next to it. 40 Queen Street is a example of an attractive wood framed commercial building that contributes to the Queen Street streetscape - one of the most important and well preserved historic streets in Charlottetown
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 40 Queen Street:
- The overall massing of the building with its two storeys
- The wood shingle cladding
- The wood framed construction with mouldings painted in a contrasting colour
- The Mansard roof with square flat roofed dormers
- The decorative eave bracketting of the square dormers and the eave of the front facade
- The style and placement of the windows, particularly the round arched dormer windows, the rectangular sash windows of the building's second floor and the large paned commercial style arched windows of the first floor
- The style and placement of the doors with their transom lights
Other character-defining elements include:
- The location of the building on Queen Street and its physical and visual relationship to the streetscape
- The building's ongoing use for commercial purposes in the City