Description of Historic Place
59-61 Summer Street is a large, wood framed, Second Empire influenced building that has been added to extensively on its north side. It has been converted to a large apartment building, but retains many of its architectural features, such as the Mansard roof, pendant decoration at the eave corners, and bracketing. The designation encompasses the building's exterior and parcel; it does not include the building's interior.
The heritage value of the Cedars lies in its association with merchant and ship owner, William Heard (d. 1896); its association with Gay's Market Garden and Greenhouse; and its Second Empire influenced architectural style.
After William Heard purchased land in the Charlottetown Royalty in 1861, he would soon build what newspapers described as "a very commodious dwelling". The Heard family probably named the home "The Cedars". Both a Heard family marriage notice and a death notice from newspapers in the 1880s refer to the house in this way.
William Heard, who had come to Prince Edward Island from England in 1842, became a ship owner, businessman and Justice of the Peace for Queens County. Prince Edward Island newspapers from the mid-19th Century make note of the many ships owned by Heard, some of which included: the Lady Sale, the Devonia, the Electric, the Nugget, the Choice, the Specimen, the Climax and the Decision. According to Hutchinson's 1864 Prince Edward Island Directory, William Heard was not only a ship owner, but also an importer of dry goods who operated a business on Queens Square. In 1871, he built three shops on Queen Street, known as Heard's Row that still stand to this day. The Hutchinson's 1864 Directory also reveals that Heard was involved in insurance and banking. He was listed as President of the Charlottetown Mutual Fire Insurance Company and the Marine Insurance Company of Prince Edward Island and appeared among Charlottetown's business elite on the provisional managing committee of the Union Bank of Prince Edward Island. He was also an active member of the Methodist Church in the City.
A later owner of the Cedars was Von Clure Gay (1858-1960). He operated a popular market garden and greenhouse in the early part of the 20th Century. The business was still in operation as late as 1922, since the Telephone Directory for that year includes a listing for Gay and Son - Market Gardeners and Exporters.
The Cedars was converted into an apartment building at some point in its history and a number of large additions have been built on to the back, or north side of the home. The attractive former residence has retained its handsome Second Empire influenced 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. The Cedars is a good example of the Second Empire style in Charlottetown.
Many of the homes located around the Cedars were constructed in the 20th and 21st centuries making the home one of the oldest in the area.
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 the Cedars:
- The overall square massing of the original 1860s building
- The two storeys
- The Mansard roof
- The size and placement of the chimney
- The mouldings, including the window and door surrounds, as well as the more decorative roof brackets and pendant decorations at the eave corners
- The size and symmetrical placement of the windows
- The size and centre placement of the door with its transom light
- The size and placement of the porch on the building's facade, with its hipped roof, simple balustrade and turned posts
Other character-defining elements of the Cedars include:
- The large additions on the north side of the home
- The location of the building on Summer Street and its physical and visual relationship to its streetscape