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88 Nelson Street / The Rowans

88 Nelson Street, Victoria, Prince Edward Island, C0A, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2006/11/15

Showing south west elevation; Province of PEI, 2006
The Rowans
Showing west elevation; Province of PEI, 2006
The Rowans
Showing south elevation - tower of United Church on left; Victoria Seaport Eco-museum Collection
The Hindenburg flying over the Village

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2006/12/05

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Rowans is a well preserved two storey gable roofed house located near the former Victoria United Church. It features Victorian gingerbread trim on its large verandah. The registration includes the building's exterior and parcel; it does not include the building's interior.

Heritage Value

The Rowans is valued for its well preserved Victorian gingerbread style; for its historical associations; and for its contribution to the Nelson Street streetscape.

It is believed the house was originally built in the 1850s in the nearby community of Hampton by John MacQuarrie, a shoemaker. An engraving of the house appears in Meacham's 1880 Atlas of PEI as "Grove Cottage". Sometime in the early 1880s it was hauled across the ice to its current location.

In 1905, it was sold to an American, Edward Archibald. He added the wrap around gingerbread trimmed verandah, front gable, and servant's quarters. By 1927, it was purchased by Fred Irwin who named it "The Rowans" after the rowanberry trees in the front yard. Inman operated a lobster packing business in the 1910s. Teachers who taught at the local school often boarded at the house. An interesting early photo of the property reputedly shows the Hindenburg airship flying over the house.

By 1980, the property was sold to the Dennison family. The house is a good example of the Victorian gingerbread style with its original Island sandstone foundation and Victorian gingerbread trim, especially regarding the intricate scroll work of the verandah. With many of these original features intact, the Rowans greatly contributes to the heritage ambiance of its streetscape.

Source: Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Community and Cultural Affairs, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8 File #: 4310-20/V23

Character-Defining Elements

The following character-defining elements contribute to the heritage value of 88 Nelson Street / The Rowans:

- The overall massing of the building with its two storeys
- The pitched gable roofs with eave returns
- All wood shingled exterior, except for the use of shiplap on the south wall of the ell, original cedar shingles on the north side of the building
- The construction using the mortise and tenon technique hand cut with an adze
- The decorative lintels and hood mouldings over the windows and doors
- The cam in the windows which holds them in an open position at any height
- The original sills which are still under the house are hand hewn
- The original Island sandstone foundation which has been reinforced in weak areas with poured concrete
- The original glass and casements of the first floor windows
- The original front door
- The decorative verandah with gingerbread trim

Other character-defining elements of 88 Nelson Street / The Rowans include:

- The location of this house on Nelson Street and its physical and visual relationship to its streetscape
- The towering 25 ft. high rowanberry trees near the property



Prince Edward Island

Recognition Authority

Province of Prince Edward Island

Recognition Statute

Heritage Places Protection Act

Recognition Type

Registered Historic Place

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type



Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Community and Cultural Affairs, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8 File #: 4310-20/V23

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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