Kings County Courthouse
60 Kent Street, Georgetown, Prince Edward Island, C0A, Canada
Kings County Courthouse
Alexander W. Matheson Building
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Kings County Courthouse is a one and a half storey Romanesque Revival style building with a sandstone exterior that alternates between red Island and grey Wallace sandstone. The Courthouse was built in 1887 and designed by famed architect William Critchlow Harris. The designation is confined to the footprint of the building.
The Kings County Courthouse is a designated building because of its association with the judicial history of the Province and due to its unique Romanesque Revival inspired design and construction.
The building is the smallest of three principal courthouses constructed in Prince Edward Island that housed both the county and supreme courts. Built after a fire in the original wooden structure had destroyed valuable documents, the citizens of Georgetown had requested that the courthouse be built from stone or brick. The cornerstone of the building was laid on July 21, 1887 to commemorate Queen Victoria's Golden Jubilee.
The building's architectural value is due to its famous architect and the unique construction of the building. The courthouse was designed by prominent local architect William Critchlow Harris and built by Lemuel A. Wilmot for $8000.00. The Kings County Courthouse was unique as it was the only building of its type on Prince Edward Island constructed of stone. Although small for a courthouse, it dominates its surroundings and serves as a landmark. The courthouse is a rare example of the Romanesque Revival style and was constructed of both red Island and grey Wallace sandstone. The ruggedness of the rock-faced stonework is balanced by the finely moulded arches over the ground floor windows and entrances. The clipped gabled roof and asymmetrical massing is typical of Harris’ designs but atypical of traditional local courthouse designs.
In 2002, the Courthouse was also named the Alexander W. Matheson Building after the former Premier of PEI, who served from 1953 to 1959. One of his major accomplishments during office was the electrification of the rural areas of the Province - which revolutionized Island life in the mid-20th Century.
Sources- Kings County Courthouse Heritage Character Statement and
Heritage Places Advisory Board Minutes - File number: 4320-20/K1
The following character-defining elements should be respected:
- The exterior rock faced stonework
- The alternating red Island sandstone and grey Wallace sandstone
- The moulded grey Wallace sandstone work of the ground floor windows and entrances
- The stone quoining at the corners
- The deeply set, relatively small, well proportioned windows typical of the Romanesque Revival style
- The shape of the roof of the courthouse with its clipped gable
- The foundation, constructed of grey Wallace sandstone
- The location of the building in the Town of Georgetown and its status as a landmark in the town
Prince Edward Island
Province of Prince Edward Island
Heritage Places Protection Act
Designated Historic Place
Theme - Category and Type
- Governing Canada
- Security and Law
Function - Category and Type
- Courthouse and/or Registry Office
Architect / Designer
William Critchlow Harris Junior
Lemuel A. Wilmot
Location of Supporting Documentation
Culture, Heritage and Libraries Division,
Prince Edward Island Department of Community and Cultural Affairs
File #: 4320-20/K1
Cross-Reference to Collection