Description of Historic Place
38-40 Upper Prince Street, or Alma Cottage as it was once known, is a wood framed, Georgian inspired former residence of the Haviland family. Located on a treed lot, the house was one of the first in the area and included a much larger lot until the Haviland family subdivided the property. Once called Haviland Lane because of its association with the prominent family, the name of the street was later changed to Upper Prince Street. The designation encompasses the building's exterior and parcel; it does not include the building's interior.
The heritage value of 38-40 Upper Prince Street lies in its association with the Haviland family and its role in supporting the streetscape.
Alma Cottage was constructed in the 1840s. It is not clear if Thomas Heath Haviland (1822-1895) built the structure, but he and his family were residents of the home until almost the middle of the Twentieth Century.
Thomas Heath Haviland was born into one of Charlottetown's most prominent and influential families. His father, Thomas Heath Haviland senior (c. 1795-1867), was a lawyer, office-holder, land agent/proprietor, banker and politician. The junior Haviland would follow his father's example and become an active member of Charlottetown society.
Thomas Heath Haviland was educated in Belgium and returned to Prince Edward Island in the early 1840s, where he studied law. In 1846, he was both called to the Bar, and elected to the House of Assembly. Haviland served in a number of roles during his political career including Colonial Secretary, Member of the Executive Council, Solicitor-General, Provincial Secretary, Leader of the Opposition and Speaker of the House of Assembly. A strong advocate for Confederation, he was an active participant at the Quebec Conference in 1864 and later in the final negotiations for PEI's terms of union with the Dominion of Canada in 1873. He was called to the Senate by Sir John A. Macdonald on 18 October 1873 where he remained until he resigned in July 1879 to become the Lieutenant Governor of Prince Edward Island.
Following his five year term in the Vice Regal office, he took over as Mayor of Charlottetown after the death of Henry Beer in 1886. He would serve in this role until 1893. Two of his major accomplishments while in office included the completion of the current Charlottetown City Hall building and the construction of a public water system. Not only a politician and officeholder, Haviland was also involved in business, the militia, the mental health facility, and Prince of Wales College.
Thomas Heath Haviland and his wife, Anne Elizabeth Grubbe (1818-1902), who was also a member of the local elite, lived at Alma Cottage for many years. Their daughters, Edith Constance Haviland Peake (1847-1931), Eleanor Blanche Haviland (1858-1942) and son, barrister, Eustace Heath Haviland (1849-1932) lived at the home well into the Twentieth Century. For a time, Eleanor Blanche Haviland was the lone surviving member of the family until she died in 1942. Almost one year later, an auction notice appeared in the 27 August 1943 edition of the local newspaper, the Guardian that advertised the auction sale of the residence, land and personal effects of Eleanor Blanche Haviland.
Alma Cottage was converted into an apartment building at some point in its history and remains in this role today. It has been suggested that the large addition on the back of the property was at one time the stable house. A large former home associated with a number of prominent residents, Alma Cottage helps support the Upper Prince 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 38-40 Upper Prince Street:
- The overall rectangular massing of the building
- The wood shingle exterior
- The mouldings painted in a contrasting colour, particularly the door and window surrounds
- The gable roof with little eave overhang
- The size and placement of the sash windows, including the grouped windows of the facade and the grouped windows of the porch
- The style and centre placement of the door with a gable projection above
- The size, placement and shape of the porches located on the south side of the home
- The large extension on the back of the home that may have once been the stable
Other character-defining elements include:
- The mature trees on the property
- The location of the building on Upper Prince Street and its physical and visual relationship to its streetscape