Description of Historic Place
127 Grafton Street is a three storey, brick, Italianate influenced commercial building. The building is part of the Confederation Court Mall complex that dominates what is known locally as Dizzy Block, one of the oldest commercial blocks in Charlottetown. The building is part of the south side of Dizzy Block or what is known locally as Sunnyside, perhaps because of its southern exposure. The designation encompasses the building's exterior and parcel; it does not include the building's interior.
The heritage value of 127 Grafton Street lies in its association with the commercial history of Charlottetown, its Italianate influenced architecture, and its role in supporting the streetscape.
Prior to its construction in 1897, a wooden building stood on the 127 Grafton Street site. In 1896, a brick building was constructed next door to 127 Grafton Street for Daniel Gordon of the haberdashery firm, Gordon & McLellan. It is possible that Gordon also had 127 Grafton Street built. The local architect, C.B. Chappell designed both Italianate influenced commercial buildings.
The choice of the Italianate influenced commercial building style was a popular one in the late 19th Century. It was considered more durable and fireproof than the wooden structures it invariably replaced. The design was also more decorative, being reminiscent of the Venetian arcades of the Renaissance period. 127 Grafton Street remains one of the City's examples of this style.
The use of the building has remained commercial throughout its history. Originally, Mark Wright and Company, a furniture maker and retailer occupied the building. Local directories and historic photographs reveal that later occupants included Haszard & Moore and Maritime Stationers. The building currently houses offices, retail and gallery space. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, the Confederation Court Mall was constructed and eventually 127 Grafton Street was joined to that complex. As one of several 19th Century buildings on this historic block, it helps support the Grafton Street streetscape.
Sources: Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2
The following character-defining elements contribute to the Italianate and commercial heritage value of 127 Grafton Street:
- The overall massing of the building with its three storeys
- The brick construction of the building with its stone accents
- The size and symmetrical placement of the arched window openings of the second and third floor that resemble an arcade
- The size and placement of the door
- The size and placement of the storefront with its recessed doorway and large windows
- The flat roof with corbelled cornice
Other character-defining elements include:
- The location of the building on Grafton Street and its physical and visual relationship to surrounding 19th Century buildings
- The continuing use of the building for commercial purposes