Description of Historic Place
The Carson Sisters' Residence is a wooden two-storey, Greek Revival residence with a side-gabled roof and a prominent centrally located entrance. It is located on Sophia Street in the Town of St. Andrews.
The Carson Sisters' Residence is designated a Local Historic Place for its architecture, for its association with the Carson sisters and for being a contributing element to the array of heritage buildings in the Town of St. Andrews.
The Carson Sisters' Residence is recognized for being a good example of Greek Revival residential architecture from the mid-19th century. This style is characterized by the prominent central entranceway. The entranceway has a portico supported by four cylindrical columns and is equipped with sidelights and a transom window. The wide corner boards and large eave returns are also characteristics of the Greek Revival style.
The Carson Sisters' Residence is also recognized for its association with the family of Agnes Douglas Carson. The residence is a mid-19th century structure that once belonged to George Swift but, sometime after 1897, it was moved to this location for pioneer nurse Agnes Douglas Carson. Agnes was living in New York when she obtained this lot and the date that the home was moved to this location cannot be determined. It is known that this home was occupied by the three Carson sisters during their retired and aged years. It is speculated that Agnes’s parents resided here until their deaths. Their two spinster daughters, Georgie and Essie, also lived here with them while Agnes was achieving her accomplishments. Agnes’ father, Capt. William Carson, passed away in 1919.
Agnes Douglas Carson was a pioneer nurse who, in 1895, went on duty as the first district nurse of the City of Saint John. In December of that year she went to the New York Polyclinic Medical School and Hospital. In 1896 she was appointed Superintendent of Nurses at the school and organized a post graduate course. In 1913, she moved to Detroit to serve as organizer and superintendent of the Detroit Nursing Home Association. In 1922 she returned to Canada and was the assistant to the Superintendent of Nurses at the Victoria General Hospital in Halifax for three years. She then became the superintendent of nurses for the Hospital for Sick Children in Halifax. From 1931 until her retirement in 1947 she was on the nursing staff of the Tuberculosis Hospital in Saint John. She spent the last 16 years of her life at this residence, passing away in her 97th year in 1963. Her sister, Essie Bertha, taught school in the Toronto Public School System, the Kew Beach School, until retiring in 1949 to move back home to this residence and passing away here in 1979. The third sister, Georgie, remained in St. Andrews and was a homemaker. She passed away here in 1976.
The Carson Sisters' Residence is also recognized for being a contributing element to the array of heritage buildings in St. Andrews. St. Andrews has one of the best collections per capita of heritage buildings in Canada that range from the early thriving loyalist days of the late 1700’s to the Maxwell designed homes of the town’s early tourism era in the late 1800’s, early 1900’s. Much credit is due to the inhabitants of the town for maintaining this collection and preserving the town’s serene and relaxed atmosphere.
Source: Charlotte County Archives, Old Gaol, St. Andrews, N.B.
The character defining elements of the Carson Sisters' Residence include:
- two-storey rectangular massing;
- wood cladding;
- tall windows with slight entablatures;
- central cross-gable;
- portico with cylindrical columns;
- central entranceway;
- sidelights flanking the entranceway;
- transom window crowning the entranceway;
- large corner boards;
- broad frieze below the roof-line;
- medium-pitched lateral gable roof;
- large eave returns;
- two symmetrically placed chimneys on gable ridge.