Description of Historic Place
The A.A. Building is a two-and-one-half storey building located at the intersection of the Wood Islands Hill Road and Main Street in Montague. The rectangular shaped structure is clad in wood shingles and has a gable roof. It retains some original two over two windows and bracketted hood moulding.
The building is valued for its association with the early commercial development of the Town of Montague; for its commercial style architecture; and for its contribution to the streetscape.
The building was constructed in the 1870s for commercial purposes. An 1876 photograph shows it having commercial style large square storefront windows on its north elevation. In 1879, Joseph Campbell owned the building, but was forced to sell it in a Sheriff's sale to pay off money he owed to the Estate of Robert Orr. On December 31, 1879, the Union Bank became the new owner, having bid $480.00 for the property.
The Union Bank had been established in Charlottetown in 1863. It was the largest banking institution in PEI. The head office was located in a brick Italianate style building in Charlottetown. It had a branch in Summerside and this was to be its Montague branch. The new bank manager in Montague was M.J. Fitzgerald. In the economic downturn of the 1880s, the bank was forced to merge with the Bank of Nova Scotia in 1882. Since the Bank of Nova Scotia already had a branch in Montague, they sold the former Union Bank building to Hedley Palmer.
Palmer would later sell it to James and Elizabeth Robertson, who leased the premises to James L. Younker, a jeweller. Younker operated this business throughout his life. Upon his death, his son, Henry Younker, sold it to the Royal Canadian Legion, Branch No. 8 on June 1, 1938. It remained the Legion until May of 1964 when the trustees relocated and sold the property to the directors of the Montague Alcoholics Anonymous Association, which still meets there today.
In its long history, the building has also been the location of a barber shop, dentist office, shoe repair shop, pawn shop, flower shop, harness repair shop, and a clothing store. More recently, a newspaper office and taxi stand operated from the building.
The rectangular wood frame style of the building was common among early commercial buildings in Montague. In its history, the facade has changed often. Originally, it had a symmetrical facade with two large storefront windows. Sometime after 1900, the facade was changed and the entrance moved to the corner of the building. In recent years, this north facade had been closed in and all that remains is the bracketted hood moulding on the facade.
With its long history in the town and its many commercial associations, the building continues to contribute to its streetscape.
Source: Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
File #: 4310-20/M21
The following character-defining elements illustrate the heritage value of the building:
- the remaining sandstone foundation
- the two-and-one-half storey elevation
- the rectangular configuration
- the wood frame and wood shingle cladding
- the gable roof
- the brick chimney
- the transoms above doors and the two over two windows
- the bracketted hood moulding
- the location of the building on the corner of Main Street and the Wood Islands Hill Road