Description of Historic Place
58-60 Sydney Street is a wood framed double tenement with a truncated roof located among a number of heritage buildings on Sydney Street. 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 58-60 Sydney Street lies in its age as an example of one of the earliest dwellings in the City, its association with the City of Charlottetown's first mayor, Robert Hutchinson (1802-1866), and its role in supporting the Sydney Street streetscape.
The home was probably built between 1833 and 1839. Robert Hutchinson rented 58-60 Sydney Street from publisher, politician and sheriff, James Bagnall. Bagnall's Loyalist father, Samuel Bagnall had at one time owned the entire block. Hutchinson would go on to purchase the home in 1848 after he built his own much larger dwelling on the corner of Sydney Street and Pownal Street.
Hutchinson served as jailer for many years, but was also a merchant, a member of the Executive Council in the PEI Government, and the first mayor of the City of Charlottetown. The first ever meeting of Charlottetown City Council would take place in the home that he built nearby at 70 Sydney Street.
A later owner of 58-60 Sydney Street was Augustus Stanley. Insurance records show that he had a fire insurance policy on the building in 1916. According to a telephone directory from 1922, insurance agent G.J. McCormack then lived at the residence. It is not clear how long McCormack owned the home but by the 1970s, a member of the O'Brien family owned it. At this point, it had been converted into a double tenement and the west side of the building was being used as a barbershop.
The small home overlooks Connaught Square. Now a green space, the south east corner of the square was once home to the town jail where Robert Hutchinson worked. The jail was known locally as Harvie's Brig for a later jailer and interestingly, Hutchinson's father-in-law, Thomas Harvie who served after Hutchinson left the position. 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 that took place there.
58-60 Sydney Street is a well kept home among a number of heritage buildings facing Connaught Square. As an example of a relatively early dwelling in the City, 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 heritage value of 58-60 Sydney Street:
- The overall massing of the building
- The symmetrical facade and wood shingle cladding
- The simple mouldings painted in a contrasting colour including the corner boards, the eaves returns of the dormers and the window and door surrounds
- The size and placement of the windows, particularly the large windows of the first floor facade and the dormer windows
- The size and placement of the two front doors
- The truncated roof with two gabled roof dormers
- The size and placement of the two chimneys
Other character-defining elements include:
- The location of the building on Sydney Street and its physical and visual relationship to surrounding 19th Century buildings
- The building's proximity to Connaught Square