Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Epworth Hall (town's 1st Protestant Church), Summerside

     I found this great old building posted on Historic PEI on Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=396401907160286&set=a.370645529735924.1073741941.205322409601571&type=1&theater
     It appears the church is under construction - an amazing photo to say the least.  I see lots of interesting details - from the brick foundation (brick above, cut sandstones below grade) to the three left second floor windows yet to receive their sashes - from the gables featuring gothic style palladian windows to the braces and ladders for shingling the roof.  I speculate the men shown here just finished the chimneys - you can see a pile of brick way in front of them and the barrels likely held mortar mix, etc.
Here are comments on Facebook about the building...
D.MacE. - Epworth Hall across from Trinity United Church. They tore it down to build a parking lot and added the new hall onto the church. There is a cairn there with the following inscription:  "Site of the first Protestant Church in Summerside, later known as Epworth Hall, 1860-1983."
L.L. - I| went to United Church Youth group there every Friday in the late '70s...Me, Nelson Snow, Kevin Murphy, Mary MacLeod...the pastor's name was Gary something. He was great. Anyone else remember that? There was a back room on the second floor where we met.
     Also, this house is listed with Historic Places - see website...http://www.historicplaces.ca/en/rep-reg/place-lieu.aspx?id=11265&pid=14006&h=90,Spring,Street%20(4)
Southeast elevation of former Epworth Hall, 1982
Above: Southeast Elevation.  Photo taken 1982.  Demolished in 1983.
Below info cf. Historic Places website.
            This site located on the northwest corner of Spring and Winter Streets is the former site of the Epworth Hall. It is now a parking lot for the nearby Trinity United Church. The site of the former hall is commemorated in a small grassed area with two maple trees and a sandstone cairn with flowers in front. A plaque on the cairn faces the intersection. Its inscription reads: "Site of the first Protestant Church in Summerside, later known as Epworth Hall, 1860-1983."
            A very large Greek Revival influenced wooden structure known as Epworth Hall once stood on the northwest corner of Spring and Winter Streets. When it was torn down in 1983 its historical significance was commemorated with a stone cairn facing the intersection.
            The Methodist Church originally was opened on the north side of First Street in 1860 on land donated by Joseph Green. This is shown in an 1887 engraving from the Journal Pioneer newspaper. Around 1871, another Methodist group - the Bible Christians - decided to erect another building on Spring Street. This was a group which had emerged from the Methodist Church. The 30 by 50 foot church was constructed in 1874 and may have been built by John Cudmore, one of the leading members of the congregation. It was one of eight churches in the town at the time. In 1884, the Bible Christians and three branches of Methodism in Canada came together to form the Methodist Church in Canada. The local congregations thus combined under one minister and the building henceforth became known as the Summerside Methodist Church.
            In 1894, the congregation opened a new church (now known as Trinity United) on the opposite corner to the south and the earlier structure was converted into a meeting hall and Sunday School classrooms. In the fall of 1894, the building formally became known as Epworth Hall. A branch of the Epworth League had been organized in Summerside in January 1890. This was a youth organization which began in Cleveland, Ohio in May 1889. An 1891 newspaper, described the League as "a temperance and literary organization, with a course of lectures and entertainments."
            Major repairs and alterations were made to the building in 1914. An addition on the west side provided for a kitchen, ladies parlour, and extra classrooms. Another renovation was carried out in the summer of 1928 when an addition was built on the north end of the hall. This provided space for a stage as well as for three classrooms on the level above. The stage became a popular feature, allowing the congregation to host lectures, plays, and many concerts over the years. 

            The next significant change to the building occurred in 1951. Under the supervision of contractor, J. Harold MacLennan, the old kitchen extension was taken down and replaced with a two-story 33 by 25 foot annex to house a modern kitchen. The second floor was designed as the church parlor and the basement was made into a recreational lounge. The original part of the building was converted into a gymnasium on the main floor and a large youth group area on the second floor, the Sunday School classrooms having been moved to the basement of the church.

            Over the next three decades, the hall continued to be used for a wide variety of congregational purposes, including as the Trinity Credit Union from 1949 to 1968. In its history, the hall was also used by the wider community. Following the Great Fire of 1906, it served as the meeting place of the congregations of the Baptist and Christian Baptist churches after their buildings were destroyed. In 1916 and perhaps in other years, the hall was used for the graduation exercises of the nurses of Prince County Hospital. In the fall of 1935, the first six grades of the Summerside School and Academy occupied the hall while repairs and rebuilding were carried out after a serious fire at the school.
            When parking space became necessary for automobiles, the congregation purchased and demolished two houses to the north and one to the west of Epworth Hall. One of those homes had served as the Methodist Church parsonage before it was purchased by the Pridham family in 1910. After a very large extension to the adjacent Trinity United Church in 1982, the hall was no longer needed. It was demolished in 1983 and increased the size of the church's parking lot.

Notre Dame Convent, Charlottetown to close after 155 years

     The following is an image of Notre Dame Convent at 246 Sydney Street comes from Historic Places website.  The convent faces northward over Hillsborough Public Square.  The convent will close in January 2014. http://www.gov.pe.ca/hpo/app.php?nav=details&p=1651
     The large convent was opened on July 5th, 1870, design by Architect John Corbett.   Notre Dame Academy operated her until 1971.  Below is an image of it today.
Below is an article from the Journal-Pioneer newspaper website:
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Notre Dame Convent in Charlottetown to close in January
Special Celebration Planned for Tuesday, November 26th
CHARLOTTETOWN - After 155 years of commitment Notre Dame Convent in Charlottetown is closing its doors.
     Sr. Elizabeth Dunn stands outside Notre Dame Convent in Charlottetown.  A special service of thanksgiving will be given at St. Dunstans Bascillica at 2pm on Tuesday, November 26th, followed by an open house, refreshments and a closing ritual at Notre Dame Convent.
      “The convent leaves a lasting legacy, but it is time to embrace change,” says Sister Joan Marie Chaisson, community leader. “Daring to listen to the challenges of today, the sisters of Notre Dame Convent have arranged for an outside agency to provide health care for the sisters … They do so with a sense of loss but knowing there is newness in the life before them and their mission continues no matter where their home may be.”
            To give thanks for all that Notre Dame has been to so many people through the year, a mass of thanksgiving will be celebrated at St. Dunstan Basilica at 2 p.m. on Nov. 26, followed by an open house, refreshments and a closing ritual at Notre Dame Convent.
            “As we reflect on history, we see people who had a dream, a vision and a conviction that led them to invite others to help them achieve this goal,” says Chaisson as she looks back at the convent’s history which had its start in the middle decades of the 19th century.
            At the time, Dan Brennan, a local resident of Charlottetown, and Monsignor Bernard MacDonald, bishop of Charlottetown, were acutely aware of the call to further the education of young women. Brennan donated two lots of land and a dwelling at the corner of Weymouth and Sydney streets for a school, and MacDonald asked the Congregation of Notre Dame of Montreal for sisters to staff this school. On Sept. 25, 1857, four sisters arrived in Charlottetown. Within a month, the first students were welcomed to St. Anne's School, which later became known as Notre Dame Academy.
            This was the beginning of the Congregation of Notre Dame's legacy of education in the province which spread to all parts of Prince Edward Island
            The annals of the convent's beginning reads like an evolving story of the joys and accomplishments in education. Along with reading, writing and arithmetic, courses were provided in music, singing, piano lessons, art and home economics. The spiritual needs of the students were met with retreats, eucharistic celebrations and other parish activities.
            Throughout the history of Notre Dame Convent, annals also tell of the generosity of the people. Many Islanders helped maintain the school in its first years of growth through tea parties, bazaars, gifts and volunteer services.
            The student population grew rapidly and in 1870, a five-storey building, the present Notre Dame Convent, was opened. In 1911 the interior of St. Anne's School was renovated and incorporated into a new brick wing.
            With this new addition it was possible to accommodate students who attended Prince of Wales College. Thus, another chapter had begun in serving and furthering the education needs of young women. These women came from all parts of P.E.I. and many returned to teach in the rural schools.
            With an increase of high school students, a modern and well-equipped high school wing was added in the spring of 1955.
            “When a new approach to public education on P.E.I. met the needs of the young people, the sisters decided to phase out the school,” says Chaisson. “In June 1971, the last 28 graduates of Notre Dame received their diplomas. Some of the sisters remained in the field of education accepting teaching positions in the public schools throughout the province.”
            True to the spirit of the foundress, Saint Marguerite Bourgeoys, several sisters engaged in an outreach to the broader community offering their gifts in various ministries such as religious instructions, retreat work, visitation of the sick and shut-ins, counselling, pastoral ministry and volunteer and tutorial in schools. The sisters continue to respond to proclaim the Gospel in our contemporary church and world.
            As time went on, it became evident that the need for health care for the sisters was necessary. Changes were made to the facility, and in time, part of the house became a health-care facility for the sisters under the efficient care of a nursing staff.
            “The dream, which began with four sisters and 15 students, expanded to include hundreds of sisters and many, many students,” says Chaisson. “The sisters of Notre Dame Convent School leave a legacy that will continue to live on in the people of Prince Edward Island for many years to come.”
            A decision as to the future of the building will be determined by the Congregation Leadership Team in Bedford, N.S.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Are there new attitudes in saving built heritage - Murray River residents demand old train station be destroyed!

     It amazes me when I read news articles about a local group in Murray River attempting to save their abandoned train station and most of the community crying out to tear it down!  
     I'm not picking on Murray River, however, its citizens and council have been in the news alot over the past few months.  The times and politics of this small rural community are no different than any other rural community on Prince Edward Island where many of the young people are leaving, property values are slack and traditions are changing from schools to churches, rinks to fire halls.
      Despite having had many of their old main street buildings demolished in recent years they still want to get rid of their 1904 station.  Ownership of the station belongs to the community and council seems willing to go along with the restoration, however, many vocal residents don't want a nickle spent on its restoration - they want it demolished.
      In this Guardian Newspaper video clip of this week's public meeting in Murray River, I'm struck by all the seniors in the crowd - most of whom are against the restoration project.  As I get older (now 52) I sometimes forget that these seniors aren't the seniors of my grandparents era.  It makes me wonder if this generation of seniors / baby-boomers are/will respect and cherish our Island's built heritage as earlier generations.  Are we seeing a generational change where it's, "out with old and in with the new?"  I don't know.
     I'm surprised to see the backlash from this small rural community where, one of  the major / visible community buildings is the the service station/convenience store, picturesquely located by the waters edge near the bridge.  The community has lost many of its old buildings in preparation for the Provincial Artefactory, however, when provincial politics changed, the project was cancelled leaving big gaps in the community's street scape.
     On a more positive note.  Not all is lost in Murray River - many, many Islanders and tourists flock to the Olde General Store to shop and experience this beautifully maintained historic building along with their good collection of crafts and gifts. https://www.facebook.com/peistore
     When a local sawmill was destroyed by a vandal's fire the community rallied to raise funds and hold an old fashioned barn-raising to help out.
     Murray River is also a golf destination in Eagle's View Golf Course for Islanders and tourist to enjoy.  www.eaglesviewgolf.com
    Also, there's local folks, like my friends the Munn's, who care greatly about their heritage properties.  The family has owned this former Lowe home since WWII and have recently restored it, maintaining its original details, character and charm.
     In conclusion, and trying to make some sense of this whole thing, this is as much a story about community politics than saving an old building.   
     Enough said! 
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Greg has a nice walk through Murray River - see his blog post...

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Chelton Saltbox House

     This is the last posting from my tour around the Chelton and Fernwood area.  
     This very old house at 48 McCardle Road caught my eye!  It would date to the mid 1800's - seemingly a saltbox style house with a center dormer on the east front.  The kitchen wing off the west would likely have been added later.  Not many saltbox houses remain on the Island - today a few remain can be found in Charlottetown's old downtown. 
     The three photos below were taken from the Campbell Road, the next road up, paralell to the McCardle Road.  
     Sorry, the photos are a bit blurry!   That's the Confederation Bridge in the background.
     The following four photos were taken from McCardle Road.  Also, there's an old barn/shed (possibly an old house from the size of the windows) to the rear of the property.
     This house is For Sale through Century 21.  The old house has had many "not so sympathetic" updates including new windows and vinyl siding.  
     The real estate listing describes the house as  “Spacious century old farm with a million dollar view...great multi-family home...”   It also notes the house having 5 bedrooms in 2,500 sq.ft. on a 1-acre lot.  
     Here’s the link to Century 21  http://www.century21pei.com/details.php?id=13068085&c=1
     The following photos are from the real estate listing.
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      The 1863 Lake Map (below cf. http://www.islandregister.com/lakem/lots/lot26.jpg) shows P. Callbeck at this location with Wm. Wright as a neighbour ( this is possibly P. Callbeck, president of Legislative Council in 1774, 1786, /  Philipps Callbeck, Attorney General 1770 cf. http://www.islandregister.com/meachamexerpts.html ).
 Below:  close-up look.
     According to Meachams 1880 Atlas of Prince Edward Island, this property belonged to Wm. Lowther with 39 acres and 23.5 acres across the road along with two other parcels of 25 and 78 acres, northward up the Chelton Road.  
     In Cumin’s 1928 Atlas of Prince Edward Island shows Fred Murphy owning this property.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Farmhouse in Fernwood

     Also on my travel through Chelton and Fernwood I took a couple of photos of this nice old Island-ell farmhouse - seemingly abandoned.
 Above: South facing front of house.
Above: Right / East side of house as you drive up the road.

Old Barn on Lighthouse Road

     On my way out to Seacow Head Lighthouse on "Lighthouse Road", I passed by this nice little barn.

Seacow Head Lighthouse

     I was recently out to the Chelton and Fernwood area of the Island - located between Bedeque and Bordon-Carleton.
     I went down to the Lighthouse, off Route 119 - my first time in this area.  Beautiful!

            It comes as a bit of a surprise to most people that walruses, for which Seacow Head and Seacow Pond are named, were abundant on Prince Edward Island during the late 19th century.
            Seacow Head Lighthouse was built during the summer of 1864 under a contract of 314 pounds by David McFarlane and John Rankin.  Besides the cost of constructing the tower, 86 pounds was paid for the land and right-of-way, Malcolm McFarlane was given 30 pounds for clearing the land, Thomas Robinson was paid 85 pounds for the lantern, and 300 pounds was expended for copper, lamps, glass and materials for the frame.
            The octagonal, heavy-framed lighthouse, 18.3 meters (60 feet) in height and measuring 3.4 meters (11 feet 3 inches) on each side at the base, originally stood on a  stone foundation and exhibited its light at a focal plan of about 27 meters  (88 feet) above the surrounding water.  Situated on the coast near the turning point for reaching Summerside Harbour, the Seacow Lighthouse serves as both a harbour light and a gulf light.
            Malcolm McFarlane served as the first keeper of Seacow Head Lighthouse starting in 1865.  In 1867, after MacFarlane was no longer keeper, two commissioners were appointed by the House of Assembly of Prince Edward Island to investigate charges against the former keeper.  The commissioners found that the evidence presented to support a charge that McFarlane had embezzled public property were so trifling that it would not have been sustained in a court of law, and thus Keeper McFarlane was cleared.
            In 1877, William Mitchell, the agent for the Department of Marine and Fisheries on Prince Edward Island, visited Seacow Lighthouse with the General Superintendent of Lighthouses of Canada and had five Sibler’s patent lamp and burners, with deep reflectors, placed in the lantern room.  At that time, the keeper, Peter O’Ronaghan, was living in the lighthouse, which was very uncomfortable, and Mitchell encouraged the Department to consider constructing a keeper’s dwelling.  Tenders were invited for the construction of the requested dwelling in 1879, and a construct for the sum of $777 was awarded to James Barclay of Ellerslie.  The new dwelling was built at the station in 1880.
            A new cast-iron lantern was placed atop the tower in 1902 replacing a worn-out, inferior lantern.  The tower was also reshingled, and a new platform deck built.  In 1906, the system of lamps and reflectors was replace by a fourth-order Fresnel lens, supplied by Barbier, Benard & Turenne, of Paris France.  The lens consisted of two groups of two panels each with each panel sub tendering 90 degrees in the horizontal plane.  Every ten seconds, second flash of 0.638 seconds, and long eclipse of 6.862 seconds.  The lens completed one revolution every twenty seconds, and petroleum vapour burner under a mantle was used as the illuminant.
            Seacow Lighthouse was automated on November 12, 1959, and the dwelling was sold on March 7, 1960 and removed from the site.  The tower was moved back from the eroding bank in 1979.
            Seacow Head Lighthouse appeared in the opening scenes of many of the episodes of Road to Avonlea, which was adapted from a few books by Lucy Maude Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables.  Seacow Lighthouse was also the model for Gus Pike’s Lighthouse that appeared in the series.  Two mock-ups of the Seacow Lighthouse, one of which was cut short for scenes that took place at the top of the lighthouse, were constructed in a field near Uxbridge, Ontario, for use in filming.
            When Tom Sheery, who owns the cottage adjacent to the lighthouse, learned the federal government was divesting Seacow Lighthouse, he visited his neighbours and obtained enough signatures to file an application for the structure.  “I went around to the residents of the community to see if there was enough local support, and 99 percent of them signed the petition,” said Sherry.  Interested residents formed Friends of Seacow Lighthouse and submitted a business plan to the government.  A public meeting was held at the lighthouse on July 18, 2013, and nearly the entire community of Fernwood showed up.  Though some had questions about liability and maintenance costs, all were unanimous that the historic lighthouse should be saved.
            Malcolm McFarlane            1865-1867
            Thomas P. Huestis              1867-1872
            James Wright                       1872-1873
            Peter (Pat’k) O’Ronaghan  1873-1917
            E. O’Ronaghan                     1917-1919
            Thomas J. Ranahan            1919-1946
            Walter Richards                   1946-1959
     Above information cf.
Below: Image cf. display at West Point Lighthouse.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Falcon Wood Estate - John A. recovered here Summer 1870

     Recently there was article in the Guardian newspaper telling about the rezoning of part of the Falcon Wood Estate for a new Hospice Facility.   The estate is situated on the Hillsborough River with south exposure.
     This former Estate is better known to Islanders as the site of the Provincial Hospital for the mentally ill.  Over the years, in a few different buildings, it's been known called Falconwood Asylum, Falconwood Hospital, Riverside Hospital and today the 1957 building called Hillsborough Hospital.  
     In 1842 John Grubb Esq., a native of England, merchant and member of the Legislative Assembly, bought the large property in Charlottetown Royalty and built an impressive brick house which he called Falcon Wood.  At the time Mr. Grubb was living in an impressive home at Holland Grove in Charlottetown. 
     See City of Charlottetown's Historic Places listing:  http://www.historicplaces.ca/en/rep-reg/image-image.aspx?id=7481#i2
Falcon Wood House
     On March 26, 1855 an advertisement in the Daily Examiner describes the Estate as a grand mansion with a large estate.  The house was described as, "one of the most substantial brick buildings on the Island and contained a dining room, drawing room, parlour, library, spacious hall and staircase, servant's room, laundry, storeroom and kitchen on the first floor.  The second floor included eight bedrooms and a dressing room.  The house also featured a large cellar and a hot air stove in the "sunk story".  The grounds included flower and kitchen gardens, 12 acres of land, some of which was cultivated, and "fine old trees".  Those interested were to apply at the house."
     Mr. Grubb died in 1850 and his Will instructed  their Holland Grove house be sold and Falcon Wood be finished, which it was by the mid 1850s.  It is not known if the family ever lived in the house as it was leased to many tenants including the Prime Minster of Canada, Sir John A. Macdonald and his family who came to Falcon Wood in the summer of 1870 for John A. to recover from gallstone attacks.  
     In 1871 the Provincial Government leased Falcon Wood House as a mental health facility - eventually the mansion would be considered unsuitable and in 1879 the government purchased the property from the Grubbs and built a new institution (see below).
     See also the article, "Mrs. Haviland's Plants", which appeared in The Island Magazine by Elinor Vass.  Mrs. Haviland was Ann Elizabeth Grubb.
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     Falcon Wood Estate reminds me of Fairholm House built in 1838-1839 at 230 Prince Street in Charlottetown for Hon. Thomas Haviland.  This home belonged to three of Charlottetown's prominent families - the Havilands (who's son, Thomas Heath Haviland, was a Father of Confederation), the Youngs and the Rogers.   
     The style of Falcon Wood was similar to Fairholm in the following features: constructed 3-4 years apart; built entirely of brick, low-pitched hip roof, many tall brick chimneys,  round bay with three windows on each level, and false brick-up windows to balance the facade.
     Fairholm has survived 175 years on the corner of Prince and Fitzroy Streets.  In 1999 the house was purchased by MacDonald's & MacPherson - following restorations it was opened as a heritage inn called Fairholm National Historic Inn.  Below are photos from their website (Falcon Wood might have been finished in a similar style): http://www.fairholminn.com/.  Also see the City of Charlottetown's Historic Places listing: http://www.city.charlottetown.pe.ca/searchaproperty.php?propid=1104
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     In 1879, Falcon Wood Estate, was the site of the Island Government's new state-of-the art facility called Falconwood Asylum.  The 5-storey Second Empire style building was sprawling and imposing.  In the winter of 1931 the facility was serverly damaged by fire.  Falconwood Hospital was rebuilt in 1933 in a less grand style.  For more information see the City of Charlottetown's Historic Places listing:  http://www.historicplaces.ca/en/rep-reg/image-image.aspx?id=7481#i2.  
Below: Engraving of the former Falconwood Insane Asylum.
Canadian Illustrated News, Vol. 17, No. 12, 180 (23 March 1878)