Description of Historic Place
Norwood is a wood framed residence influenced by the Classical Revival style of architecture. It features a gable roof with eave returns, corner pilasters, and a round arch window in each peak. It is located along one of the Island's oldest roads, the St. Peters Road, in what used to be the Charlottetown Royalty. Although the home was originally in a largely rural setting, over the years, modern residential development has occurred. The designation encompasses the building's exterior and parcel; it does not include the building's interior.
The heritage value of Norwood lies in its association with the Wright family; its Classical Revival influenced architectural details; and its role as an example of the lifestyle of those who lived in the Charlottetown Royalty.
It is unclear exactly when Norwood was built but it has been suggested that a member of the prominent Wright family built it in the late 1700s. It is known that Hon. George Wright (1779-1842) and his wife, Phoebe Cambridge (1780-1851) lived in the home until at least 1810, at which time they built their larger residence, Belmont, nearby off the St. Peters Road.
Phoebe's parents, John and Mary Cambridge, were landowners and successful businesspeople on Prince Edward Island. The Wright and the Cambridge families became involved in a business partnership at nearby Bird Island Creek or what is known today as Wright's Creek. The complex included a brewery and milling operation. Control of it was given to the Wrights when the partnership was dissolved amicably in 1813.
Hon. George Wright was not only involved in business, but also was a farmer, a colonel in the militia, and served in a number of important political offices. Some of these included: Administrator of Prince Edward Island, Member of the Legislative Council, Surveyor General, Judge, and High Sheriff.
Norwood remained in the Wright family for many years. The 1863 Lake Map of Prince Edward Island and the 1880 Meacham's Illustrated Historical Atlas of the Province of Prince Edward Island indicates that the son of George and Phoebe Wright, George Wright Esq. (1810-1887) resided at Norwood. Indeed the nearby creek has retained the Wright name in honour of the family that shaped much of the history in the area. Later owners of the property included the Love family who lived there until the latter half of the Twentieth Century.
The home is influenced by the Classical Revival style of architecture. The Classical Revival style was the result of further study of Greek original forms. Pattern books, such as those by architect and writer, Asher Benjamin, made the architectural vocabulary available to all builders. The style influenced Canadian architecture the most of any of the architectural styles and is often found in public buildings, but was also used in private dwellings in a more subdued fashion. Features of the style include symmetrical massing, simple trim, wide entablatures and a gable end facade. Together, the gable end, eave returns, and corner pilasters combined to be evocative of Greek temples. The style was popular in Charlottetown from approximately 1800 until the 1880s.
Norwood was one of a few early homes built in what was referred to as the Charlottetown Royalty. The Royalty had been set-aside in the 1770s to provide farmland for the early citizens of Charlottetown. In time, a number of families of some wealth and prestige established estates there, the properties serving either as their principal residences or as semi-rural retreats. Norwood was originally within the boundaries of the Charlottetown Royalty and later the community of East Royalty, however it became part of the City of Charlottetown in 1995 when the surrounding communities amalgamated with the City. Important both for its architecture and its historical associations, Norwood remains a tangible reminder of the lifestyle of the wealthy that lived in the Charlottetown Royalty in the 19th Century.
Sources: Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2
The following Classical Revival influenced character-defining elements contribute to the heritage value of Norwood:
- The overall massing of the building with its two storeys
- The gable roof with eave returns
- The symmetrical facade
- The mouldings painted in a contrasting colour, including the window and door surrounds, the cornice and the large corner pilasters
- The size and placement of the windows, particularly the large sash windows and the round arched windows located in the apexes of the gables
- The size and placement of the doors, particularly the off centre door of the north facade with its sidelights and the door of the porch on the south side
Other character-defining elements of Norwood include:
- The size and placement of the porch on the building's south facade
- The size and placement of the brick chimneys
- The treed lot on which the building is set
- The location of the building on the St. Peters Road with its view of Wright's Creek and its physical and visual relationship to its streetscape