Description of Historic Place
This two-and-one-half storey Colonial Revival style house with a steeply pitched gable roof has been rehabilitated as offices for a law firm. It is located on the west side of Summer Street with mature hardwood trees in front, complimenting the vegetation of Memorial Square on the east side of the street. It features stacked corner bays with decorative shingles flanking an impressive entryway under a glazed balcony and large central gable dormer with gingerbread bargeboard. This feature is something of a trademark signature of local Summerside builder, Percy Tanton.
The substantial building at 82 Summer Street is well known in the City of Summerside as the Hinton House even though it was originally constructed as the home of Robert Sharp. Both Mr. Sharp and Mr. J.S. Hinton were very noteworthy residents of the early town and the former dwelling has historical significance for that reason. Further heritage value for the people of Summerside results from the contribution of this building to the historic streetscape.
It was built in 1907 as the home of Robert W. Sharp, a local trader whose original house on the lot was burned in the Great Fire of 1906. He grew up in St. Eleanors, the son of James Sharp and Margaret Linkletter and became an oyster dealer like three of his brothers. George W. lived in Lot 12, John A. lived on Spring Street and James A. built a house on the lot next door at 92 Summer Street.
The first house on the lot was built around 1882 and was shared with Mr. and Mrs. Donald Morrison, the parents of Robert's wife, Mary. When the house burned down, Mr. Sharp was a 54-year-old widower; his daughter Ella was 26 and his son Daniel was 21. According to a newspaper in July 1907, the rebuilding of the burned district was well underway: "The new houses in course of erection are much superior in style and architecture to the ones occupying the former sites. Mr. Robert Sharp's house, on Summer Street, much larger than the one destroyed by the fire, is up and the roof shingled." The building was probably designed and built by local contractor Percy Tanton, whose own home at 94 Central was of a similar design. Mr. Tanton was the son of Robert's sister, Isabella Sharp. In June 1908, Mr. Sharp and his daughter moved into the new house, Daniel having gone to California. After her father's death in 1909, Ella Sharp sold the property.
The purchaser of the spacious residence, John S. Hinton, found the interior in an unfinished state and he arranged for the necessary work to be done before he moved in with his family. He had married Ella Lea of Tryon in 1868 and began working as an accountant with the firm of R.T. Holman. He worked his way up to the position of manager and also served as a director. Around 1915, he went into business for himself as a real estate agent and investment broker for Wood Gundy and Company. His career ended prematurely when he died in 1920 at the age of 54. His widow and son Richard moved to New Brunswick and then Calgary where they lived for four years. During that time the house was rented. The only known tenant was James Sullivan who served on the police force in the town.
In 1928, Mrs. Hinton and her son returned to Summerside and the following year Richard entered Mount Allison University, going on to earn a law degree at Dalhousie University in 1935. He opened a law practice and for many years was a Provincial Magistrate for Prince County as well as Stipendiary Magistrate for the Town of Summerside. He and his wife Marion, the daughter of John and Leah Campbell, lived in a house on Chestnut Avenue. His wife died in 1973 and he later married Eleanor Bagnall, widow of Ferno Rogers.
Mrs. John S. Hinton passed away in 1962, having been active for many years in various church and charitable groups. After her death, the dwelling was converted into two apartments that were rented until 1986. In that year, Richard Hinton moved his law firm of Hinton and Lyle from the Smallman building into the ground floor of 82 Summer Street. The law practice along with the building was sold in 1988 to the legal firm of Walker and Aylward and Mr. Hinton retired as a member of the Bar in 1990. The house underwent some restoration after the change in ownership and the second level was opened up for additional office space. Since that time, the Hinton House has continued to be used by various law firms.
Source: City of Summerside, Heritage Property Profiles
The heritage value of the building is shown in the following character-defining elements:
- the two-and-one-half storey massing
- the brick and concrete foundation
- the large gable roof with asphalt shingles
- the brick chimney
- the projecting two-storey central vestibule with central doorway and sidelights
- the dentilation and moulding of the vestibule exterior
- the stacked corner bay windows
- the large central dormer with round arch window and bellcast roof with decorative gingerbread bargeboards
- the beltcourses and pedimented gables
- the clapboard and scalloped wood shingle cladding
- the original fenestration of the windows with hood mouldings
- the single storey sunporch on the south elevation with transom windows