Description of Historic Place
52 Sydney Street is a wood framed, Georgian inspired residence whose features include a symmetrical facade with simple cornerboards and trim. It is attached to another similarly styled heritage home that was built in the same period. The homes in this section of Sydney Street overlook historic Connaught Square, one of Charlottetown's five public squares. The designation encompasses the building's exterior and parcel; it does not include the building's interior.
The heritage value of 52 Sydney Street lies in its age, its Georgian influenced architecture, and its role in supporting the Sydney Street streetscape.
Local cooper, John Kennedy had the home at 52 Sydney Street built shortly after 1839. Like many in the 19th Century, Kennedy 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 Kennedy's agreement, signed in September 1839, his new home was to be in line with Sydney Street and one and a half storeys high. As was the general practice, at the end of the lease, three respectable freeholders assessed the building and Kennedy was paid half the estimated value.
Later residents of the home were the Patrick J. McMahon family. Newspaper notices from the Guardian of 1941 announced the death of Mr. McMahon and his wife in January and December respectively. One article indicated that their son, Rev. P. McMahon, D.D. celebrated the funeral mass for his father at Charlottetown's St. Dunstan's Basilica.
52 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. 52 Sydney Street's Georgian inspired features include a gable roof, symmetrical massing and simple mouldings.
The home at 52 Sydney Street 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. Built in 1830, it operated until a new jail was constructed further out of town in 1911. The square was infamous in Charlottetown for the public hangings that took place there.
52 Sydney Street is a well-kept former home among a number of heritage homes facing Pownal Square. As a surviving example of a relatively early dwelling, 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 Georgian inspired character-defining elements contribute to the heritage value of 52 Sydney Street:
- The overall massing of the building with its two storeys
- The wooden shingled exterior
- The simple mouldings such as the cornice, the window and door surrounds and the cornerboards, painted in a contrasting colour
- The size and symmetrical placement of the sash windows, although the slightly larger window of the east side of the first floor facade is slightly larger than the original windows
- The size and central placement of the front door
- The gable roof
- The large extension on the south or back side of the home
Other character-defining elements include:
- The building's proximity to Connaught Square
- The location of the building on Sydney Street and its physical and visual relationship to surrounding 19th Century buildings
- The building's ongoing use as a residence