Description of Historic Place
281 Kent Street is a brick two storey former private residence that has been converted into an apartment building. It is located among a number of houses from the early to mid 19th Century and stands directly across the street from Holland College. The designation encompasses the building's exterior and parcel; it does not include the building's interior.
The heritage value of 281 Kent Street lies in its role as an example of a 19th Century brick house in Charlottetown; its association with various prominent residents; and its role in supporting the streetscape.
Deputy Treasurer of Prince Edward Island, John Robins purchased the land, on which 281 Kent Street stands, for 350 Pounds in 1869. He built his large brick home there shortly afterward and in 1871, sold it to Secretary to the Board of Education and former School Visitor, John McNeill for 1,820 Pounds. Only one year later, the house was on the market again. According to the advertisement, the property comprised one town lot, and featured a beautiful, new, two storey brick house, a roomy coach house, stables and a warehouse.
Unfortunately, the house did not sell and it was advertised for sale again in August 1873, but this time it was being sold by the mortgagee, John Robins. According to the advertisement, the well-appointed home featured two kitchens, two pantries, ten bedrooms as well as drawing, dining and breakfast rooms. Judge Dennis O'Meara Reddin purchased the property and would be the first of a succession of prominent owners of 281 Kent Street. Later owners and occupants included F.W. Hyndman, the founder of Hyndman & Company, member of the Royal Navy and officeholder; George McLeod, a bank manager; and the W.W. Wellner family, who operated a jewellery business on Grafton Street. It is not clear when the home was converted to an apartment building but by the 1970s, it was being used for this purpose.
The building's appearance has changed throughout the years. A photograph from the 1970s shows the building with a hipped roof, raised parapet ends and corbel detailing along the roof. The roofline has since been changed to a gable and the corbel detailing and parapet have been removed. It remains a fine example of a 19th Century brick home however, with many features that have been left intact including corbel details on the north end of the porch; the large wooden porch on the west side of the home; the paired arched windows; and the brick and stone work. Located among a number of heritage homes; 281 Kent Street helps support the Kent Street streetscape.
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 281 Kent Street:
- The overall massing of the building and its brick construction
- The size and shape of the brick exterior, particularly the arched brick voussoirs over the paired windows and the corbel details on the north side of the porch
- The stone window sills and lintel over the door
- The gable roof with shed dormer
- The size and placement of the windows, particularly the paired arched windows, the single arched windows of the west side, the grouped windows of the porch and the dormer windows
- The size and placement of the doors, particularly the two doors on the west side of the porch-one of which has a stone lintel above
- The size and placement of the two separated brick chimneys
- The size, shape and placement of the porch on the west side of the building
- The various additions to the north side of the building
- The mature tree on the front of the lot
- The location of the building on Kent Street and its physical and visual relationship to its streetscape