Description of Historic Place
5-7 Grafton Street is a large wood framed house built in the Second Empire style. It features a mansard roof, dormers, shed roofed dormers, and stacked bay windows. The building is located in a residential area with a number of impressive former homes. The designation encompasses the building's exterior and parcel; it does not include the building's interior.
The heritage value of 5-7 Grafton Street lies in its Second Empire influenced architecture; its association with the St. Peter's Anglican Cathedral and School; and its role in supporting the Grafton Street streetscape.
Built in 1877 as a Clergy House for Anglican priest, Reverend George Wright Hodgson (1842-1885), 5-7 Grafton was designed by Island architect, William Critchlow Harris and built by carpenter, James Butcher. Reverend Hodgson was the first Island born Priest Incumbent to serve at St. Peter's Anglican Cathedral.
In addition to being a residence for the clergy, 5-7 Grafton Street served as home to boys from the countryside or other provinces, who were in Charlottetown attending the St. Peters School. Conveniently, the school, which was operated by the Cathedral on Rochford Square, was within a short walk from the Clergy House. Many of Charlottetown's leading citizens from the late 19th and early 20th centuries were said to have attended the school. A girls school was begun approximately four years later and both continued to operate until 1932.
Suddenly, in 1885, Reverend Hodgson died at the young age of 43 - only 8 months after he married Gertrude Magdalen DesBrisay. She would continue to live at the residence and be joined by her sisters Miss Rose DesBrisay, Mrs. Watson, Mrs. Morson and Mrs. Simpson. In Irene Rogers' 1983 book "Charlottetown: The Life in its Buildings" she humourously notes, "The household of ladies became known, somewhat irreverently but affectionately, as the Holy Family."
The attractive former residence has since been converted into an apartment building but has retained its handsome Second Empire style. The style is readily identified through its Mansard roof. This was named after François Mansart (1598-1666), and popularized by his son, Jules Hardoin Mansart, an architect who worked for 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 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. 5-7 Grafton Street is a well preserved example of the Second Empire style in Charlottetown. Located among a number of large ornate homes; it helps support the Grafton Street streetscape
Sources: Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2
The following Second Empire inspired character-defining elements contribute to the heritage value of 5-7 Grafton Street:
- The overall imposing and vertical massing of the building
- The Mansard roof
- The dormers with their sloping shed roofs
- The size and placement of the chimney
- The mouldings, including the window and door surrounds as well as the more decorative, verandah treillage, columns and balustrade
- The size and placement of the sash windows, including the paired windows, the stacked bay windows and the dormer windows
- The size and placement of the doors
- The size and placement of the porch on the west side of the home with its treillage and columns
Other character-defining elements of 5-7 Grafton Street include:
- The location of the building on Grafton Street and its physical and visual relationship to its streetscape