Description of Historic Place
96-98 Prince Street is a brick, Second Empire style home, located on the corner of Prince Street and Richmond Street. It features stacked bay windows and a large bay dormer in its mansard roof. It is positioned among a number of heritage homes and churches of varying ages. The designation encompasses the building's exterior and parcel; it does not include the building's interior.
The heritage value of 96-98 Prince Street lies in its association with various prominent Charlottetown residents; its Second Empire influenced architecture and its role in supporting the Prince and Richmond Street streetscapes.
In the 1870s, the railway had a large impact on Prince Edward Island and railway men were important members of the community. Harry H. Houle, a native of England, was the Track Master or Road Master for the Prince Edward Island Railway. He hired prominent architects, Stirling and Harris to design his beautiful Second Empire style home in 1879. Brick and Nova Scotia freestone were the materials chosen for the exterior and the home remains a fine example of the Second Empire style within the City of Charlottetown. The style is usually identified by its Mansard roof, which was named after François Mansart (1598-1666), and popularized by his son, Jules Hardoin Mansart, an architect who worked for France's King Louis XIV around 1700. The Mansard roof is almost flat on the top section and has deeply sloping, often curved, lower sections that generally contain dormers. The Second Empire referred to in the name of the style is that of Napoleon III (1852-1870). The style reached Canada through Britain and the United States and was used extensively throughout Charlottetown from approximately 1860 until 1880.
It is not clear how long Houle owned 96-98 Prince Street, but telephone directories show that Dr. George Forbes Dewar was a resident and operated his office from the building. Dewar was a respected physician in and around Charlottetown and practiced medicine for almost forty years. He also served politically representing the district of 3rd Queens in the Provincial Legislature.
Located in a mix of residential and public buildings of varying ages, the handsome building at 96-98 Prince Street helps support the Prince Street and Richmond Street streetscapes.
Sources: Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2
The following Second Empire character-defining elements contribute to the heritage value of 96-98 Prince Street:
- The overall massing of the building with its two and one half storeys
- The brick construction of the building
- The dentil detailing near the roof and the flat window arches
- The Wallace freestone accents, such as the foundation and the window lintels and sills
- The wooden trim painted in a contrasting colour including the cornice and window trim
- The Mansard roof with its shingle pattern, gabled dormers, and large bay dormers
- The size and placement of the windows, particularly the sash, two over one windows, the bay windows and the fanlights in a sunburst pattern
- The size and placement of the doors on either side of the building with fanlights and sidelights
- The various wooden additions to the building, including the porch of the south side which has retained the original dentil detailing at its roof and the wooden arched details
Other character-defining elements include:
- The location of the building on the corner of Prince Street and Richmond Street and its physical and visual relationship to its streetscape