Description of Historic Place
70 Grafton Street is a three storey brick Italianate Commercial influenced building that was originally constructed as a warehouse for the Rogers Hardware Company. It later became home to the company itself in the 1980s, but now houses a popular local restaurant. The designation encompasses the building's exterior and parcel; it does not include the building's interior.
The heritage value of 70 Grafton Street lies in its association with the commercial history of Charlottetown; its Italianate commercial influenced architecture; and its role in supporting the streetscape.
Thomas W. Dodd (1819-1902) and Benjamin Rogers (1836-1911) were two successful Charlottetown businessmen who formed a business in 1859 called Dodd & Rogers. From their business on Pownal Street, they operated a general store and sold stoves. In 1867, they each bought a lot on the corner of Queen Street and Grafton Street and constructed a building, 137-139 Queen Street, on their two properties. They operated their business from this location for many years and in 1904, Benjamin Rogers took over the entire Dodd & Rogers Company and changed its name to the Rogers Hardware Company.
70 Grafton Street was constructed as a warehouse for the company in 1896. The elaborate warehouse building is rumoured to have been designed by prominent local architect, W.C. Harris. The facade and massing of the building shows Italianate Commercial influences. The choice of the Italianate influenced commercial style was a popular one in the late 19th Century. It was considered more durable and fireproof than wooden structures. The design was also more decorative, its rows of usually arched windows being reminiscent of the Venetian arcades of the Renaissance period.
In 1988, the building was converted to house the Rogers Hardware Company store which would include the electrical supply shop, architectural hardware department, general hardware department, restaurant supply division and gift shop. A decade later, the Rogers Hardware Company would close its doors for good. The death of the owner, Tom Rogers, was reported as the reason for the firm's closing. The building was given a new lease on life in 2002 however, when it was purchased, renovated and converted into a popular restaurant.
Located next door to the original Rogers Hardware Building for which it served as a warehouse, 70 Grafton Street helps support the streetscape.
Sources: Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2
The following Italianate Commercial character-defining elements contribute to the heritage value of 70 Grafton Street:
- The overall massing of the building with its three storeys
- The brick construction of the building with its stone accents, particularly the rusticated stone bands, the quoining on the main floor, the stone inserts, the "1896" date stone and the corbelling effect under the rows of windows
- The size and symmetrical placement of the windows, particularly the second and third floor windows surrounded on either side by decorative pilasters and the large plate glass storefront windows of the main floor
- The size and central placement of the door
- The size and placement of the storefront with its recessed doorway, large windows and signband
- The flat roof
Other character-defining elements include:
-The location of the building on Grafton Street near the original Rogers Hardware Building