Links and documents
1877/01/01 to 1878/01/01
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Alberton Court House is a simple wooden hall under a steeply pitched roof. With its entry on a gable end, the building evokes the image of a pioneer church rather than the courthouse that it was. Located in Alberton, Prince Edward Island, it is notable for its Neo-classical composition and graceful proportions. The designation refers to the building on its legal property. It now serves as the Alberton Museum.
Alberton Court House was designated a National Historic Site in 1980 because it is both representative and the most ornate of a series of six circuit court houses erected according to a standard plan, soon after the passage of Prince Edward Island's County Courts Act in 1873.
All these early circuit court houses were small single storey pitched roof buildings constructed to a standard plan with a porch/vestibule and an open interior court room. The Alberton Court House was built in 1877-1878 by James Wiggins and Sons of Alberton to the standard plan designed by the Prince Edward Island Superintendent of Public Works in 1874-1875. The basement of the Alberton Court House contained half a dozen cells as well as accommodation for a keeper. The building ceased to be used as a court house in the late 1970s and began to be used as the local museum in 1980.
The heritage value of Alberton Court House National Historic Site lies in those aspects of its design that conform to the standard plan - its single storey form, open interior layout and porch/vestibule - as well as those that mark this building as distinctive - its basement gaol, its Neo-classical composition and graceful proportions.
Source: Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada Minute, March 1980.
Key features contributing to the heritage value of this site include:
- its rectangular massing under a steeply pitched roof;
- its auditory hall design with an open interior volume and small rectangular entrance porch;
- its Neo-classical detailing, including its Roman arched window and door openings, corner pilasters, molded cornice, and oculus;
- its evenly spaced, tall round headed, multi-pane sash windows on the main floor and the small multi-pane barred windows with single, hinged exterior shutters of the basement;
- its wooden construction materials and their careful, skilled craftsmanship;
- surviving evidence of its original function as a courthouse and gaol, notably its open ground-floor volume and surviving layout and materials of the basement jail;
- surviving original fittings and furnishings, their materials, craftsmanship and finishes.
Government of Canada
Historic Sites and Monuments Act
National Historic Site of Canada
1878/01/01 to 1978/01/01
Theme - Category and Type
- Governing Canada
- Security and Law
- Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
- Architecture and Design
Function - Category and Type
- Courthouse and/or Registry Office
Architect / Designer
Prince Edward Island Superintendent of Public Works, 1873
James Wiggins and Sons
Location of Supporting Documentation
National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec
Cross-Reference to Collection