Description of Historic Place
222 Sydney Street is a wood framed, vernacular saltbox shaped house set close to the street. It features a central brick chimney, wood shingled roof and cladding, and decorative pilasters and eave returns. Built in the early part of the 19th Century, it is one of the oldest homes in the area. The designation encompasses the building's exterior and parcel; it does not include the building's interior.
The heritage value of 222 Sydney Street lies in its vernacular saltbox style architecture; its association with the Nelson family; and its role in supporting the streetscape.
In 1785, in the wake of the American Revolution, brothers, Samuel and John Nelson arrived on Prince Edward Island as wards of Lieutenant-Governor Fanning. Not much is known about the Nelsons except for the fact that they came from Philadelphia. They were granted various lots of land in the City and it was John Nelson who first owned the lot on which 222 Sydney Street stands. He would later sell it to his brother, Samuel, in 1817. It is unclear if Samuel or John ever lived in the cottage. In 1833, when George Wright made his field notes of Charlottetown, he stated that a home was standing on the site, however, it was described as Mr. Brown's house.
Mr. Brown was Alexander Brown, Master of the Grammar School and later the Central Academy. This institution later became Prince of Wales College - a founding component of the University of PEI. It is not clear if Brown was renting the home from Nelson, but it is likely, because as late as 1863, the Lake Map of Charlottetown shows that the Nelsons owned the 168 feet of frontage on Sydney Street with a small house on it.
When it was constructed, the home was likely a two storey, four room cottage with a central chimney. The lean to kitchen and exterior trim were later additions. 222 Sydney Street received a sympathetic renovation in the late 1990s when a local heritage advocate purchased it. As a result, a small wing was added to the back, the chimney was repointed, new siding and mouldings were added and a number of interior renovations were carried out. The renovation revealed that in approximately 1840 the house's shape had been changed to that of a saltbox.
Saltboxes are so named for their resemblance to a box used to store salt in the 18th Century. Charlottetown has few saltbox homes and this is a well preserved example. A very old house among a number of heritage buildings in the area, 222 Sydney Street helps support the 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 222 Sydney Street:
- The overall symmetrical massing of the home
- The distinctive saltbox shape
- The wood cladding with mouldings painted in a contrasting colour, in particular the pilasters, the window architraves, the end boards and the eave returns
- The size and symmetrical placement of the sash windows
- The size and placement of the doors particularly the centrally placed panelled front door with transom light and the east side panelled door
- The late 1990s addition to the back of the home
- The style, size and shape of the brick chimney
- The location of the building on Sydney Street and its physical and visual relationship to its streetscape