Description of Historic Place
187-189 Dorchester Street is a wood framed two storey, Georgian influenced home located on the corner of Dorchester and Hillsborough Streets in an old section of Charlottetown that contains a variety of heritage homes. A very old home, it has served a number of prominent Charlottetown residents. The designation encompasses the building's exterior and parcel; it does not include the building's interior.
The heritage value of 187-189 Dorchester Street lies in its Georgian influenced architecture, its association with prominent Charlottetown citizens, and its role in supporting the Dorchester and Hillsborough streetscapes.
Samuel Nelson (c.1776-1866), politician, merchant and shipbuilder, had arrived on Prince Edward Island with Lieutenant Governor Fanning in 1785. 187-189 Dorchester Street was constructed on land that had been owned by Nelson for many years. Surveyor George Wright wrote his field notes in 1833, that a home stood on the property that he called simply "Nelson's House". An 1833 rental agreement between Nelson and John Barrow (1775-1863) mentions the home as being "new" so it is clear that the building was constructed at some around 1833.
The Barrow Family was originally from Kent County in England and had a number of estates in Barbados, one of which is now a museum called the Sunbury Plantation House. Barrow and his family moved to Prince Edward Island in the 1830s and would live at the home until Barrow's death in 1863. Although apparently without occupation, John Barrow was made a puisne judge in 1838 and served in this role until his death.
Samuel Nelson went bankrupt in 1859 and although the Bank of Prince Edward Island took over the property, it would still be rented to the Barrows until 1863. 187-189 Dorchester was then sold to St. Paul's Anglican Church for use as a rectory for Rev. D. Fitzgerald.
In 1887, the 14 May edition of the local newspaper the Examiner, carried a for sale notice advertising that 187-189 Dorchester Street was available for sale "whole or in part". Robert Poore Haythorne (1815-1891) purchased the entire home and used it as his family residence until his death.
R.P. Haythorne had come to Prince Edward Island from Bristol, England in 1841 and became one of the Island's foremost farmers and landowners. He abolished leasehold tenure on his lands by 1866 and sold land to his tenants and squatters at 2 dollars per acre, which made him popular with the public. Encouraged by his former tenants, he ran for and won the 2nd Queens seat on the Legislative Council. He eventually became Premier of Prince Edward Island and served from 1869-1870 and from 1871-1873. Called to the Senate in the fall of 1873, he remained in that office until his death in 1891.
A later owner of the home was Captain Finlayson (1852-1928) and his name is often associated with the house. Captain Allan Finlayson was captain of a number of ships including the "Northern Light", the "Stanley" and later the "Minto".
187-189 Dorchester Street was influenced by the Georgian style of architecture. Its well-balanced facade, rectangular plan and central doorway are all features of the Georgian style. A photo taken of the home in the 1860s shows it without the gable dormers and the front verandah, suggesting that these elements were added later. The windows had been changed at some point in the building's history. The first floor windows originally were nine over six panes and the second floor windows were six over six panes. No longer a private home, 187-189 Dorchester Street was converted to an apartment building at some point in its history. As a well maintained example of its style, 187-189 Dorchester Street helps support the Dorchester and Hillsborough Street streetscapes.
Sources: Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2
The following Georgian influenced character-defining elements contribute to the heritage value of 187-189 Dorchester Street:
- The overall massing of the building with its wood frame and two storeys
- The gable roof with large eave returns and gable dormers
- The style and symmetrical placement of the windows, including the four large sash windows of the first floor facade, the five smaller sash windows of the second floor facade and the dormer windows of the roof
- The style and central placement of the front door that leads into a protruding porch and the off centre door that is part of the later west side addition
- The simple mouldings painted in a contrasting colour, particularly the windows and door surrounds and the large corner boards
- The large verandah with its decorative columns, brackets and balustrade
- The size and placement of the chimney on the eastern side of the home
- The addition on the west side of the home
Other character-defining elements include:
- The location of 187-189 Dorchester Street among other heritage homes