Description of Historic Place
Chester's Barber Shop and Laurie's Beauty Salon is located in one of the oldest buildings on Main Street in Montague. The wood framed building features a central gable with eave returns and a verandah across the south elevation. It sits on its original site very close to Main Street on the south side of the bridge.
The building is valued for its association with prominent former residents of Montague; for its long history as a residence and site of commercial activity in the town; and for its ongoing contribution to the streetscape.
The building has a significant association with a prominent Montague merchant and politician, Augustine Colin Macdonald (1837-1919), who purchased the property on September 16, 1874 in a public auction for the price of $103. It had originally belonged to local merchant, Duncan Currie. Macdonald also purchased an adjoining lot on August 1, 1879 from James Lambert and others. Macdonald and his family would reside here and operate a store for many years.
A.C. Macdonald had been born at Panmure Island, PEI. His parents, Hugh and Catherine Macdonald, had emigrated from Invernesshire, Scotland, in 1806. Augustine was educated at a Grammar School in Georgetown and at the Central Academy (later Prince of Wales College) in Charlottetown. He was married in June 1865 to Mary Elizabeth Macdonald. They had seven children.
In addition to being a successful merchant, he served in the local militia and ran for political office, representing the district of 3rd Kings in the provincial Legislative Assembly from 1870 to 1873. When PEI joined Confederation that year, he resigned his provincial seat to run in a by-election for a seat in parliament in Ottawa. He won this for the Liberal-Conservative party. However, in the 1874 election, he was defeated. He would run again successfully in the federal elections of 1878, 1882, 1891, and 1896. He was defeated in the federal election of 1900. On June 7, 1915, he was sworn in as Lieutenant Governor of PEI and died in office. Augustine was influential in bringing the railway to Montague in 1906 and in building the first Roman Catholic Church in Montague on the Wood Islands Hill.
Two of Augustine's brothers were also active and influential in PEI politics. Andrew Archibald Macdonald (1829-1912) was a PEI Father of Confederation, Lieutenant Governor of PEI from 1884-1889, and Canadian Senator from 1891-1912. Archibald John Macdonald served for many years in the PEI Legislative Assembly.
Upon Augustine's passing, his son Louis Macdonald moved into the residence and began operating a bakery on the first floor. By 1960, it was sold by the Macdonald family to Donald and Mary Craig who set up a barber shop and hair salon. In the 1970s, it was sold to Gerald and Marian Murray who operated a funeral parlour. By 1976, it was purchased by Chester and Laurie Moore and again used as a barber shop and hair salon. The second storey became apartments.
The building has a long history in the town and can be clearly seen in an early 1876 photograph of Main Street. During Augustine's residency, an unusual photo shows him in Highland dress surrounded by other costumed guests at a party. The group is posing in front of the verandah on the south side of the building.
The building has been considerably altered during its history. Single windows have been replaced by picture windows, while corner pilasters and beltcourses have been removed. However, the centre gable style of the house remains with its eave returns and large verandah.
With its many historical associations and long history as the site of commercial activity, the building continues to contribute to the streetscape of Main Street.
Source: Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
File #: 4310-20/M31
The following character-defining elements illustrate the heritage value of the building:
- the original sandstone foundation
- the wood frame construction
- the original fenestration of some windows
- the centre gable roof with eave returns
- the verandah on the south elevation
- the brick chimney
- the location of the house close to Main Street on the south side of the bridge