Ninety-nine Years Ago on the Corner of Prince and Richmond

Angus Orford sent me the photo on the left yesterday (it came to him via Cathy Large) of the house he owns on the corner of Prince and Richmond Streets in Charlottetown. It was taken in 1904. The house on the left is our house.

I took the photo on the right this afternoon, roughly 99 years later.

Ignoring the fact that the 1904 photo was taken from a higher angle, and leaving out the power lines, the home renovations, and the trees that have had a chance to grow in the intervening years, it’s remarkable to me that this corner is much as it was.

I’m usually not one of those “heritage people,” but I gotta say that the notion that as I type this I’m sitting in a room that has been here for 176 years does kind of blow my mind.


Daniel Burka's picture
Daniel Burka on December 5, 2003 - 20:34 Permalink

Peter, your house looked 25% cooler when it was black and white… ;-)

Steven Garrity's picture
Steven Garrity on December 5, 2003 - 20:39 Permalink

See How Buildings Learn by Stuart Brand for more architectural before/afters.

Mandy's picture
Mandy on December 5, 2003 - 21:10 Permalink

Look at the old street light. I like the fact that those are popping up around town again.

Oliver B's picture
Oliver B on December 5, 2003 - 21:13 Permalink

Those photos make me realize that towns in old photos have always struck me as more austere and spacious than the same towns look in modern-day photos side-by-side. In the past I’ve attributed the effect to signage and to aerial wires. In yours I can attribute it partly to wires and to trees. But I don’t think that’s all. I wonder if they used wider angle camera lenses back in the old days, and if that could do it…

Dave Hyndman's picture
Dave Hyndman on December 5, 2003 - 21:19 Permalink

You seem to be missing a chimney.

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on December 5, 2003 - 21:36 Permalink

Yes, we’re down one chimney. Indeed, unlike other houses I’ve seen in Charlottetown from the inside, there’s almost no evidence of the chimney left. One thing you can’t see too clearly from the old photo is that there are shutters on the windows of our house that are closed. You’ll also notice that there used to be a window on the second floor at the front; we discovered this last year when we peeled off the wallpaper.

Alan's picture
Alan on December 5, 2003 - 22:18 Permalink

Have you checked the appendix to the City’s heritage bylaw — there may be some commentary on your house there.

Daniel Von Fange's picture
Daniel Von Fange on December 5, 2003 - 23:07 Permalink

The British think hundred miles is a long way, the Chinese think a hundred dollars is a lot of money, and the Americans think a hundred years is a long time…” —Heard somewhere

That is indeed nice that those two photos look so similar.

Erin's picture
Erin on December 6, 2003 - 00:00 Permalink

Back when I gave historic tours of Charlottetown, as a Confederation Player, your house used to be on my tour and I talked about it almost every day for 4-5 years. It has been a while, so I can’t completely remember the fate it was built (I had it all memorized once, the history of so many buidings in that area). The Houle house was built by a fellow who was a higher-up with the railroad on the waterfront (he could walk to work everyday), and because of his high rank he could build his house all in brick and in imported brick at that. He also used imported stone on the foundation if I recall.

Erin's picture
Erin on December 6, 2003 - 00:02 Permalink

typo: by the word “fate”, I really meant “date”

Peter Rukavina's picture
Peter Rukavina on December 6, 2003 - 00:03 Permalink

Our house, we think, was built by Henry Smith, brother of Province House and Fanningbank architect Isaac Smith.

Erin's picture
Erin on December 6, 2003 - 04:06 Permalink

Is it the brick house, or the wooden one next to it?

Ian Williams's picture
Ian Williams on December 7, 2003 - 06:49 Permalink

The removal of chimneys was a big fad in the 1920s, and our house in the Berkshires (built circa 1825) was no exception, sadly. I think once hot-water heating took hold, there was no reason to put up with the cold drafts offered by crappy flues.

Look in your attic, though, and you’ll see the old tresses and beams converge around a ghost chimney that is no longer there.