Description of Historic Place
185-187 Kent Street is a two and one half storey wood framed building. It features gable roofs, gable dormers, and decorative pedimented stacked square bay windows. It is located on the corner of Kent and Prince Streets among a number of historic buildings and churches. The designation encompasses the building's exterior and parcel; it does not include the building's interior.
The heritage value of 185-187 Kent Street lies in its association with local furniture maker, Martin Dogherty, drugstore, Johnson and Johnson and its role in supporting the streetscape.
It is not clear exactly when 185-187 Kent Street was originally constructed, however judging by its construction method with birch bark covering the wide sheathing boards, it is an old structure. It is possible that cabinetmaker, Martin Dogherty built the home, as he lived and worked there before 1833 until approximately 1850.
By 1856, physician, Dr. Henry A. Johnson had purchased the home. He and his family, including his son Hammond who was also a physician, occupied the home. One of Henry Johnson's other sons, Richard, was pursuing a medical degree at Harvard when an unfortunate incident temporarily changed his career path. While traveling across the Northumberland Strait in an ice boat, a storm blew up and stranded Johnson and the rest of his party on the ice for three days. A fellow traveler and medical student, James Henry Haszard died as a result of the ordeal. While Richard Johnson survived, he abandoned his medical studies and became a minister. Approximately, ten years into his career, he developed throat problems that caused him to leave the ministry. He then returned to Harvard where he finished his medical degree in 1865.
By the time that Dr. Richard Johnson returned to the Island to practice medicine, his father and brother had died. Dr. Richard Johnson took over the residence at 185-187 Kent Street where he practiced medicine and like his peers, dispensed drugs. Before 1889, his son, Arthur had joined him in the dispensing part of his business and when another son, Richard MacKay Johnson, received his pharmacy degree in 1893, the two would begin the Johnson and Johnson drug store business. They operated the drug store out of the 185-187 Kent Street building for many years until it was sold to Robbins E. Colwill in 1913. A later owner of the building was Hilliard Toombs who also operated a drug store from the premises. Both Colwill and Toombs retained the Johnson and Johnson name for their businesses.
The building would remain a drug store until the 1980s. It would later become a restaurant and pub called Doc's Corner. 185-187 Kent Street remains a restaurant and pub to this day. An attractive building which has important historical associations and has been a part of the corner for many years, it plays a large role in supporting the Prince and Kent Street streetscapes.
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 185-187 Kent Street:
- The overall two and one half storey massing of the building
- The gable roof with two gable dormers on the Kent Street facade
- The wood exterior with mouldings painted in a contrasting colour including the cornice, the cornerboards, the window and door surrounds and the interesting design in the pediment atop the stacked bay windows of the Kent Street facade
- The asymmetrical facade
- The style and placement of the windows, particularly the symmetrically placed sash windows and the stacked bay windows of the Kent Street facade topped with a gable roof
- The size and placement of the doors topped with awnings, including the door with transom light facing the corner
- The size and placement of the brick chimney
- The large addition on the Prince Street side
Other character-defining elements include:
- The location of the building on Kent and Prince Street and its physical and visual relationship to its streetscape