Description of Historic Place
53-57 Newland Crescent is a wood framed Georgian inspired residence situated on a treed lot. When it was constructed, it was one of a number of homes located in what was known as the Charlottetown Royalty. Once a primarily rural area with a number of estates, it has been developed considerably since the 1950s. The designation encompasses the building's exterior and parcel; it does not include the building's interior.
The heritage value of 53-57 Newland Crescent lies in its association with William Eddison Dawson (1829-1902); its Georgian influenced architecture; and its role as one of the few early houses of the Charlottetown Royalty.
53-57 Newland Crescent was built in approximately 1850. It appears on the 1863 Lake Map where it is listed as Captain Hancock's house. By 1880, Captain Hancock sold the home to W.E. Dawson Esq., a successful businessman, magistrate, office holder and politician. Dawson came to Prince Edward Island from Leeds, England in 1843. After working as a clerk in John Thomas' dry goods firm, he joined as a partner in 1855 and by 1861; he opened his own grocery and hardware store in Charlottetown. A successful businessman, he became a member of a group who founded the Union Bank of Prince Edward Island in 1863.
Dawson was involved politically and was particularly successful at the municipal level. He was a Charlottetown city councilor for seven years in the period between 1861 and 1874 and elected mayor of the capital in 1878, where he served until 1882. Dawson would wear the chain of office again from 1894 until 1898.
Not only involved in mercantile and political pursuits, William E. Dawson was also active in his community. He was one of the founders of the Young Men's Christian Association in the city and was a member of the local Methodist Church. He also served as a county magistrate, was a member of a civic liquor licensing board, and sat on the school board for fourteen years.
A for sale notice for Dawson's home appeared in the 30 June 1903 edition of the Guardian newspaper. It described the home as follows: "Fronting on the Malpeque Road, one mile distant from the post office, Charlottetown, together with icehouse, dairy, two barns and shed. Also six acres of land, containing a good orchard and garden, beautiful shade trees and lawn, all in excellent order. The house is in a perfect state of repair, and contains eleven rooms and pantries and is heated with hot water..." Those interested were to inquire at the offices of H.J. Cundall or Horace Haszard. Alternatively, they could apply on the premises to Miss S.L.C. Dawson directly. It is not clear to whom the home was sold, however at some point in its history, it was converted to a large apartment house.
53-57 Newland Crescent was influenced by the Georgian tradition of architecture. The Georgian style is one of the most common architectural styles on Prince Edward Island. It emerged from 18th Century Britain and was intent on expressing confidence, order and balance. The home's Georgian features include a gable roof, symmetrical massing and simple mouldings.
The home and its attached lands were representative of the lifestyle of the wealthy that lived in the Charlottetown Royalty in the 19th Century. During this period, men of considerable means bought large tracts of land outside the City in the Royalty in order to create large estates. Their plan was to live like the country gentlemen of their native Britain. In an area that has been developed considerably with 1960s residential architecture, the former home remains a tangible reminder of a bygone era.
Sources: Heritage Office, City of Charlottetown Planning Department, PO Box 98, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K2
The following Georgian influenced character-defining elements illustrate the heritage value of 53-57 Newland Crescent:
- The overall rectangular massing of the building
- The two and one half storeys of the main house and the two storeys of the attached back section
- The gable roofs
- The wood frame with simple trim throughout the building's sheathing including the window and door surrounds
- The size and placement of the sash windows
- The size and placement of the doors, particularly the centre placement of the front door with its sidelights
- The size, shape and placement of the brick chimney
- The small canopy roof over the front door
Other character-defining elements that illustrate the heritage value of 53-57 Newland Crescent include:
- The location of the home on Newland Crescent and its physical and visual relationship to its streetscape
- The large addition to the west side
- The treed lot