Description of Historic Place
The Kenneth Poirier Apartments is a two-storey rectangular building with Georgian style elements. These include the symmetrical facade, the rectangular windows, and the gable roof. It also features a wood shingled exterior and a decorative circular spoke wheel window in the gable. The registration includes the building and its lot.
The building is valued for its association with the Honourable Benjamin Rogers; for its former use as a temperance hall; for its association with Rev. Robert W. Dyer; and for its being the location where the name "Alberton" was chosen for the town.
It is believed the building was constructed in the early 1860s by Benjamin Rogers (1837-1923). He used the first floor for commercial purposes and the second floor was used as a temperance hall. Rogers was a prominent member of the community. His parents had emigrated from Wales to the Bedeque area of PEI. After moving to Alberton and becoming a merchant, Benjamin Rogers entered politics in 1863 as a Liberal candidate. He was not successful until 1872, when he won a seat in the Legislative Council. He would remain influential in provincial politics and was appointed lieutenant governor in 1910, serving in the post until 1915.
In 1914, when he decided to build a new home, the current building was moved about one hundred metres from its original site.
Other important associations of the building include its use by the Anglican missionary, Rev. Robert W. Dyer, as a location for services before the first Anglican church was built in the area. His diary recalled one such service: "We commenced about 4 o'clock. I was glad to preach to such a large assembly for the place - 160 - though I would not reckon on all of these, nor a quarter of them as Episcopalians. Yet I could safely reckon on these sinners standing in need of a Saviour, and therefore I offered the Saviour to them all, assuring them that if they come to Him, He would in no wise cast them out. I was glad to see many of the American fisherman present."
The community of Alberton got its name at a meeting held in this building on June 27, 1862. The townspeople decided to change the name of "The Cross" to Alberton in honour of Albert Edward, the Prince of Wales, who had visited PEI in 1860. He would later become King Edward VII.
From 1876 to 1879 it was the location of the Alberton Pioneer newspaper. This was forced to close, however, when a smallpox epidemic erupted in the town and people refused to purchase the paper. It later moved to Montague and then to Summerside.
With Benjamin Rogers passing in 1923, the building became the property of his nephew, Ted Hunter. In 1957, J.W. Don Campbell became the owner and converted it into apartments. The current owner has continued using the property for this purpose.
With its long history in Alberton and its many historic associations, the building continues to contribute to the streetscape.
Source: Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
File #: 4310-20/A23
Character-defining elements which reflect the Georgian style elements of the building include:
- the rectangular shape and two-storey massing
- the low pitched gable roof
- the wood shingle cladding
- the symmetrical facade with double entrance (originally single entrance)
- the canopy roofed porch
- the decorative spoke wheel circular window in the gable
- the contribution of the building to the streetscape