Description of Historic Place
The Orchard Brook Farm is a 120 acre property which has been in the Dunbar family since 1896. It includes a centre gable style farmhouse, a large rectangular barn, a former carriage house, and other outbuildings. It is located about eight kilometres north of Alberton in the rural community of Alma. The registration includes the house, barn, and former carriage house.
The farm is valued for its association with the Dunbar family; for its remaining house and outbuildings; and for its contribution to the rural community of Alma.
Joseph Dunbar purchased 120 acres of woodland in Alma in the 1880s. By 1891, he had constructed the current barn and by 1896, the current house was built all from lumber harvested on the property. The former carriage house was erected in 1915. It was later used as a grainery, wood shed, and for farm machinery storage.
Dunbar operated a mixed farm consisting of dairy cows, pigs, sheep, and horses. Grain was grown in neighbouring fields and an orchard was established on the property. He was active in beginning the Farmers' Institute in the area and had a strong interest in the co-operative movement. He was a member of the Church of the Nazarene and services were often held in the house and accomodation was provided to ministers before the church became established in the community.
By 1935, his son, Isaac Dunbar began operating the farm. During WW II, he served in the RCAF. In the 1950s, the farm was the scene of community gatherings where local musicians would perform. One of these was Isaac's son, who operated the farm since 1980.
In 1998, when the province was celebrating its 125th year in Confederation, the farm was given the title "Century Farm". It has also earned local heritage awards.
The centre gable style house has some modern changes, such as vinyl siding, but it retains other original elements such as the eave returns and verandah with turned posts and fretwork decoration. The large barn and former carriage house are typical of vernacular structures built on PEI. They feature an array of two-over-two windows.
With its long history in the community, the Orchard Brook Farm continues to be a reminder of the strong agricultural roots of the area.
Source: Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
File #: 4310-20/A19
Character-defining elements which reflect the heritage value of the farm include:
- the centre gable style farmhouse with:
- the high pitched centre gable roof with eave returns and lightning arresters at gable peaks
- the covered verandah with turned posts and decorative fretwork
- the brick chimney
- the large rectangular barn with wood shingle and steel cladding on the roof and some walls
- the array of two-over-two windows
- the weather vane at the peak
- the wood shingled former carriage house with gable roof dormer
- the two-over-two windows of the carriage house
- the steel roof of the carriage house