Description of Historic Place
28-30 Pownal Street is a brick, Georgian inspired, former boarding house and hotel located on the corner of Pownal Street and King Street. It features a symmetrical facade of two over two windows and a central panelled door with sidelights and fanlights. It replaced a wooden boarding house that was destroyed by the Great Fire of 1866. The designation encompasses the building's exterior and parcel; it does not include the building's interior.
The heritage value of 28-30 Pownal Street lies in its historical use as a hotel; its Georgian and Italianate influenced architecture; and its role in supporting the Pownal Street and King Street streetscapes.
Before the current building at 28-30 Pownal Street was constructed, a hotel or boarding house called the Mansion House operated from this section of Pownal Street. Some of its more noteworthy guests included delegates from the 1864 Charlottetown Conference on Confederation. Unfortunately, the Great Fire of 1866 destroyed the original building and it would not be until 1872 when rebuilding began.
The current brick structure is the work of the local talented architect and mason, John Corbett. He designed the building for Mrs. Charles McKenna who had intended that it be a dwelling and shop, but it is unclear if it was ever used for this purpose. When the building appeared for sale in April 1890, it was advertised as the Terrace House, which was likely a boarding house or a hotel. It is not clear who purchased the building but an article appeared in the Examiner of May 1896 indicating that "Misses Finley" had moved into the "large and commodious brick building" formerly known as Aberdeen House. She would naturally rename the building, Finley House.
Later newspapers reveal that 28-30 Pownal Street was offered for sale in 1898, and again in 1904. The owner of the home was Edward Kelly in 1904, but it is not clear if Kelly was successful in selling the building. It is known that John T. Weeks of Alberton leased the building in May 1904, and renovated it extensively. Weeks would rename it Windsor House. According to newspaper reports, the Windsor House featured fifteen guest rooms, linen closets and a large bathroom. The ground floor contained a parlour and a dining room separated by a folding door, as well as an office, a smoking room, a large pantry, a storeroom and a comfortable kitchen. It remained a hotel for at least 16 years when in 1920, it was sold to John F. Murnaghan of Currie and Murnaghan Plumbing and Heating. His family would live there for the next 50 years, which was the longest time the building was held by a single owner.
By 1977, 28-30 Pownal Street was being used as a five unit apartment building. Today it continues in this role. An attractive and well preserved building and an early example of hotel accomodation in the City, 28-30 Pownal Street helps support the Pownal and King Street streetscape.
The building is Georgian influenced in style but also shows some Italianate inspiration. The Georgian style is one of the most common architectural styles on Prince Edward Island. It emerged from 18th Century Britain and was intent on expressing confidence, order and balance. Combined with the brick exterior of this building, the result was intended to impress. 28-30 Pownal Street's Georgian features include the symmetrical facade with five bays, a central doorway and attractive fanlight. The Italianate style was a more decorative style reminiscent of the Venetian arcades of the Renaissance period. Italianate influences can be seen in the slightly arched windows, the low sloping roof and the corbelled brick design near the roof.
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 28-30 Pownal Street:
- The overall square massing of the building with its three storeys
- The size and shape of its brick construction, including the corbel design near the roof and the arches above the windows and door
- The relative flatness of the roofline
- The size and placement of the windows, particularly the large two over two sash windows of the first, second and third floor
- The size and central placement of the panel door with its sidelights and fanlight
- The size and placement of the chimneys
- The small wooden addition to the back of the building
- The location of the building on the corner of Pownal Street and King Street and its physical and visual relationship to its streetscape