Description of Historic Place
221-223 Kent Street is a brick three storey flat roofed former factory that has been converted to house a college and bookstore. It features a corbelled brick cornice at the roofline and stone window sills. It is located among a mix of residential, commercial and ecclesiastical buildings of varying ages on the corner of Kent and Hillsborough Streets. The designation encompasses the building's exterior and parcel; it does not include the building's interior.
The heritage value of 221-223 Kent Street lies in its association with the early furniture manufacturing industry of Charlottetown; its brick construction; and its role in supporting the streetscape.
The land on which the building stands has a long association with the cabinetmaking trade. The first known furniture maker to occupy the site was George Douglas, who worked from a wooden building in the 1850s. Mark Butcher, the well-known Island cabinetmaker still used the building when he purchased the land in 1869. After Butcher passed away in 1883, his nephew, Mark Wright took over the factory and worked from the building until it was destroyed by fire in 1887. Wright promptly built the current structure in brick as a replacement and continued his business until imported, machine made furniture replaced Islanders' desire for the hand carved variety. He ceased manufacturing furniture and moved his furniture retail business to Grafton Street. His former factory at 221-223 Kent Street was to become a pork packing and cold storage facility, first run by Wright himself and later by the Sims Packing Company.
Throughout the Twentieth Century, 221-223 Kent Street would go on to have a variety of uses including as a candy making factory, a mental health facility, the Navy League headquarters and finally, a Christian College.
The large imposing style of the brick building emphasizes its original manufacturing role. As a utiliatarian structure, there is little decoration except for the corbelled cornice at the roofline. The array of six over six windows would have provided lots of light for those working meticulously inside. Located on the corner of Kent and Hillsborough Streets for many years, 221-223 Kent Street helps support the streetscapes.
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 221-223 Kent Street:
- The overall rectangular massing of the building
- The three storeys
- The size and shape of the brick exterior, particularly the arched brick voussoirs over the windows and the corbel details near the roof
- The stone window sills
- The flat roof
- The size and placement of the six over six paired and single sash windows and the large picture window in the north addition
- The size and placement of the doors, particularly the door of the west side with a large glass transom light above, and the door of the northern one storey addition
- The size and placement of the brick chimneys
- The various additions to the west and north sides of the building
Other character-defining elements include:
- The location of the building on Kent Street and its physical and visual relationship to its streetscape