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253 Matthews Lane, Union, Prince Edward Island, C0B, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2008/04/29

Showing south elevation; Briarwood Inn, 2007
Showing south elevation
Showing northwest elevation; Briarwood Inn, 2007
Showing northwest elevation
Archive image of Briarwood, 1971; Alberton Museum Collection
Archive image of Briarwood, 1971

Other Name(s)

Briarwood Inn, Cottages and Lodge

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1911/01/01 to 1917/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2008/08/12

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

This Colonial Revival and Queen Anne influenced house is located about three kilometres south of Alberton on the west bank of the Dock River. It has a panoramic view of the river. Its features include its hipped roof, enclosed verandah, balcony, and palladian window on the east facade. The registration includes the Briarwood house.

Heritage Value

Briarwood is valued for its typical "Fox House" architectural style; for its association with the Keefe family; and for its contribution to the community.

This house is the third to be called "Briarwood". The first two were built by John Keefe (1803-1892). He had emigrated from London, England to PEI in 1819 and purchased a large piece of land at the Dock River estuary. His son, Joseph Keefe (1847-1918) inherited this property and operated a fox farming business. In 1911, he began constructing the current house. It was completed in 1917.

The builder was Elmsdale native, Edward O'Connor (1865-1945), who had learned his carpentry skills in Worchester, Massachusetts. He only worked on the house during the winter months. He also constructed churches in Alberta. He lived in nearby Alma.

Joseph Keefe's son, William, became an opthamologist in New York City. Another son, Gerald, practised dentistry in Alberton for over thirty years.

The residence remained in the Keefe family until 1988, when it was sold to the current owners. They moved it about one kilometre north to its present location.

In recent years, it has been extensively renovated and serves as the Briarwood Inn. New cottages and a lodge have been constructed near the residence. They have won an architectural preservaton award for their work.

Source: Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8
File #: 4310-20/A10

Character-Defining Elements

Character-defining elements which illustrate the Colonial Revival and Queen Anne influences of the house include:

- the two-and-one-half storey elevation
- the four square style with hipped roof
- the brick chimneys
- the wide eaves
- the gabled dormers with eave returns
- the wood shingle cladding
- the beltcourse dividing the two storeys
- the enclosed verandah
- the stacked bay windows
- the balcony on the second floor supporting a gabled dormer with palladian window



Prince Edward Island

Recognition Authority

Province of Prince Edward Island

Recognition Statute

Heritage Places Protection Act

Recognition Type

Registered Historic Place

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Hotel, Motel or Inn


Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour, Charlottetown, PE C1A 7N8 File #: 4310-20/A10

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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