Description of Historic Place
49 Pownal Street is a three storey brick, Italianate inspired, former warehouse. The facade features decorative brick arches, belt courses, and corbelling. It is located on the corner of Pownal Street and Dorchester Street in an area that was settled early in Charlottetown's history. The designation encompasses the building's exterior and parcel; it does not include the building's interior.
The heritage value of 49 Pownal Street lies in its association with the commercial history of Charlottetown; its association with Charlottetown merchant, Owen Connolly (1820-1887); its Italianate influenced architecture; and its role in supporting the streetscape.
49 Pownal Street was constructed for merchant, Owen Connolly, in 1886, one year before his death. Connolly was one of the most successful entrepreneurs of the late 19th Century PEI. His varied business interests left him a very wealthy man. He was born in Ireland in 1820 but immigrated to Prince Edward Island in 1839, where he worked for the Smallwood Family as a farm labourer. Connolly eventually bought a farm of his own and soon after, opened a country store. As his businesses multiplied and diversified, he constructed several buildings in the City. Many of his buildings are still standing in Charlottetown today.
The facade and massing of 49 Pownal Street resembles an Italianate Commercial building. The choice of the Italianate influenced commercial building was a popular one at the time of its construction. It was considered more durable and fireproof than the wooden structures it invariably replaced. The design was also more decorative, being reminiscent of the Venetian arcades of the Renaissance period.
In January and March of 1888, the local newspaper, the Daily Examiner advertised space for rent in Connolly's new fireproof warehouse. Interested parties could contact businessman, George E. Full. According to local directories and newspaper reports, in 1922, the PEI Fox Biscuit Company was a tenant of the building. The Guardian newspaper of 27 June 1922 reported on a fire that took place in the building and described the extensive damage to the machinery, merchandise and the building itself. Mr. Tomlins, the owner of the company had only started the company in February of that year.
Land survey records from 1944 indicate that the warehouse was purchased from the Estate of Owen Connolly by the Fisherman's Union of PEI. Other occupants of the building have included the Portland Packing Company who operated a cannery from the building. Another company, Hall and Stavert operated their machine shop from the building.
More recently, 49 Pownal Street has been converted into an office building called Century Place. A well-preserved, attractive building among a number of heritage homes and buildings, it is a vital part of the Pownal and Dorchester Street streetscape.
Sources: Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2
The following Italianate influenced character-defining elements contribute to the heritage value of 49 Pownal Street:
- The overall rectangular massing of the building
- The building's three storeys and solid brick construction
- The decorative brickwork including the large pilasters that separate the exterior into three vertical segments, the arches over the doorway and the first and second floor windows as well as the corbelling near the roof
- The stone accents including the belt course, stone footings, the stone around the top of the windows and door arches, the stone inserts and the stone topping the corner pilasters
- The size and symmetrical placement of the windows, particularly the paired six over six sash windows of the eastern facade and the sash windows of the southern facade
- The size and off centre placement of the paired doors with a large transom light above
- The flat roofline
Other character-defining elements include:
- The location of the building on the corner of Pownal Street and Dorchester Street and its physical and visual relationship to its streetscape
- The building's ongoing association with commercial activity in the City