Description of Historic Place
55 -57 Dorchester Street is a wood framed, Georgian inspired building located in an area with a number of restored historic buildings. A very old former hostelry, it has a drive through carriageway which is a rare feature in Charlottetown. The designation encompasses the building's exterior and parcel; it does not include the building's interior.
The heritage value of 55-57 Dorchester Street lies in its Georgian influenced architecture, in its role as one of the best examples of a building with a drive through carriageway in Charlottetown, and because of its association with various City residents and its role in supporting the streetscape.
It is not clear when the building was constructed, but it is generally thought that it was used as a hostelry operated by Donald MacPhee and his wife, Margaret MacPhee. It is clear that the building was standing as early as 1812 because during his official visit to Charlottetown, the Bishop of the Diocese of Quebec, of which Prince Edward Island was a part, said Mass there. He used the hostelry because the first Roman Catholic chapel in Charlottetown would not be complete until 1816.
After her husband died, Margaret MacPhee operated the hostelry on her own until her death in 1833. At this point, the hostelry was sold to plasterer, William McKay, who in 1865 would leave for Victoria, British Columbia. The Bank of Prince Edward Island soon took over the property and offered it for sale. Before it could be sold however, the Great Fire of 1866 devastated the area. The building was not destroyed but it was scorched. The Bank probably replaced or extensively repaired the building because records show that a year later, it sold for the large sum of 405 Pounds.
The home has had various owners throughout its history, including George C. Worthy and William Grant, as well as the Coady and Oatway families. A unique building that has undergone an extensive restoration in recent years; 55-57 Dorchester Street is a vital part of the Dorchester Street streetscape.
55-57 Dorchester Street is Georgian inspired in style. The Georgian style of architecture is one of the most common architectural styles on Prince Edward Island. It emerged from 18th Century Britain and was intent on expressing confidence, order and balance. 55-57 Dorchester Street's Georgian inspired features include a gable roof, symmetrical massing and simple mouldings.
A feature of the home that was once common in Charlottetown, but it rarely seen in the City now, is the drive through carriageway. A charming convenience of a by gone era, a carriage could drive through to a stable located in the back yard. 55-57 Dorchester is one of a few buildings in Charlottetown that has retained this feature.
Sources: Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2
The following Georgian inspired character-defining elements contribute to the heritage value of 55-57 Dorchester Street:
- The overall massing of the building with its two storeys and wood cladding
- The gable roof with Scottish dormers
- The style and symmetrical placement of the windows, including the two over two sash windows and the dormer windows
- The style and placement of the doors, including the two panel doors with transom lights above
- The simple mouldings painted in a contrasting colour
- The size and placement of the chimney
Other character-defining elements include:
- The unique drive through carriageway
- The location of the building on Dorchester Street and its physical and visual relationship to the streetscape