Description of Historic Place
48-50 Sydney Street is a two storey wood framed, Georgian inspired, former tavern and residence located on the corner of Sydney Street and Union Street. It is attached to another wood framed heritage home, 52 Sydney Street that was built in the same time period. The homes on this part of Sydney Street overlook historic Connaught Square, one of Charlottetown's five public squares laid out in 1771. The designation encompasses the building's exterior and parcel; it does not include the building's interior.
The heritage value of 48-50 Sydney Street lies in its age, its Georgian influenced architecture, and its role in supporting the streetscape.
Local baker and tavern keeper, Arthur O'Neal constructed 48-50 Sydney Street at some point after 1843. Like many in the 19th Century, O'Neal held a 21-year lease and promised to build a home on the property at his own expense. Although it seems odd now, the lessee was expected to give up the home at the end of his lease. According to O'Neal's agreement with property owner, merchant George Clarke, his new home was to be in line with Sydney Street, not less than 18 by 20 feet and one and a half storeys high. As was the general practice, at the end of the 21-year lease, the building was assessed by three respectable freeholders and O'Neal was paid half the value of his building's assessment. Soon the tobacconist, Philip Coyle, purchased the home and his family remained there until at least 1915.
48-50 Sydney Street is Georgian inspired in style. The Georgian style 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. 48-50 Sydney Street's Georgian inspired features include a gable roof, symmetrical massing and simple mouldings. According to a photograph of the home from the 1970s, it had five windows on the second floor facade and three windows on the first floor facade. A later renovation has resulted in the removal of a number of these windows, including two from the second floor and one from the first floor. Renovations have also revealed that the home was of plank construction.
The property overlooks Connaught Square. Now a green space, the south east corner of the square was once home to the town jail. The jail was known locally as Harvie's Brig for early jailer, Thomas Harvie. The prison was built in 1830 and operated until a new jail was constructed further out of town in 1911. The square was infamous in Charlottetown for the public hangings which took place there.
48-50 Sydney Street is a well kept home among a number of heritage homes facing Connaught Square. A still standing example of a relatively early home, it plays an important role in supporting the streetscape.
Sources: Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2
The following character-defining elements contribute to the Georgian influenced heritage value of 48-50 Sydney Street:
- The overall massing of the building with its two storeys
- The wooden shingled exterior with mouldings painted in a contrasting colour
- The size and placement of the sash windows
- The size and placement of the two front doors
- The gable roof
- The size and placement of the chimney
Other character-defining elements include:
- The location of the home on the corner of Sydney Street and Union Street overlooking Connaught Square
- The building's proximity to the one next door at 52 Sydney Street
- The building's continuing use as a residence in the City