Description of Historic Place
15 Kensington Road is a wood framed, former private home that has been converted into an apartment building. It is located on a large lot where the first sod for the Prince Edward Island Railway was turned in 1871. The designation encompasses the building's exterior and parcel; it does not include the building's interior.
The heritage value of 15 Kensington Road lies in its association with the beginning of the Prince Edward Island Railway; its vernacular architecture; and its role in supporting the streetscape.
Although it is unclear when 15 Kensington Road was constructed, it has been associated with the prominent Brecken family. According to the 1863 Lake Map and the J.H. Meacham & Co. Illustrated Historical Atlas of 1880, Ralph Brecken owned a large piece of property nearby. It is not clear if he lived at the residence, but it appears to have been built as a single family home.
Local directories reveal that Silas Francis Hodgson, a storekeeper for the Prince Edward Island Railway was a resident of the home from 1915 until at least 1922. By 1938, dentist, Dr. J.E. Blanchard was living there. According to a 1950 directory, the house had been converted into the Maryknoll apartment building and was home to two families. It remains an apartment building to this day.
15 Kensington Road is a vernacular style home. Although altered, it has retained a number of details such as the Palladian window, the bay window and carved mouldings around the window eaves.
The land near 15 Kensington Road was the site of the turning of the first sod of the Prince Edward Island Railway 5 October 1871. The railway would affect the history of the province dramatically. It was the Island's railway debt that played a major role in the decision to join Confederation in 1873. The railway also played an integral role in the transportation needs of Islanders throughout the 19th, and a large portion of the 20th Century. It was one of the largest employers on the Island. However, due to declining passenger traffic in the 1960s, the railway passenger service ceased, with only the freight service remaining. The service was finally terminated on 31 December 1989. Soon after, all railway tracks were removed and the land was turned over to the Province. The rail beds were eventually converted to a large trail system running throughout the length of the entire province known as the Confederation Trail. A section of the trail runs just west of the home and an interpretive sign marks the site of the sod turning.
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 15 Kensington Road:
- The overall irregular massing of the building
- The mouldings, such as the simple window and door surrounds, the brackets at the eave of the gable roofed porch, and the decorative carved moulding at the dormer eave
- The gable roof, with gable dormers
- The size and placement of the windows, particularly the Palladian window in the center gable, the bay window of the south side and the sash windows
- The style and placement of the doors, particularly the front west side door
- The size and placement of the porch, with its brackets and gable roof over the door
Other character-defining elements include:
- The location of the home on Kensington Road and its physical and visual relationship to its streetscape
- The Confederation Trail which runs to the west of the house