After taking a tour around Cornwall, it was discovered that there are approximately sixty houses that have been standing for at least the last seventy years, many dating much older than that. In the following pages you will find a pictorial inventory of these older homes. The ages of the homes can be determined in most cases by their architectural style. In 1976, Irene L. Rogers wrote an article about architectural styles of older Island homes for The Island Magazine. The following styles (relevant to the Cornwall area) were identified and described by Rogers.
Centre Gable - 1860-1890: On Prince Edward Island, this style is most associated with a rectangular shaped house with a pitched roof and high centre gable in front. This style of home is part of the “Picturesque” Gothic revival movement. A house of this style can be a one and a half or two storey home. More decorative homes in this style may have a veranda, porch, boy windows or elaborate eaves. This style home has many variations.
Maritime Vernacular – 1830-1860: Characteristics of this style of home include small window panes and a transom light/window over the door-way. The architecture can be described as a “one storey cottage in which the central face of the building breaks the eaves line and forms the background for a window.”1 Furthermore, Rogers indicates that there are two main types of Maritime Vernacular, and earlier and later style.
Earlier style – Prior to 1845, homes of the Maritime Vernacular style were reflective of the Grecian architecture. Some may have a hip or gable roof. “The hip roof buildings were usually large and two storey; the gable roofed could either be small one story or large two storey. All, however, had one thing in common. They were extremely symmetrical in design… The window panes were small because larger plates of glass were not yet available. Larger homes sometimes had a three part window called Venetian, or more frequently Palladian.”2
Later Style – This style lasted for only a short time during the 1860’s. It consisted mostly of larger square homes that were built under the Italian influence. Common characteristics of this later style include strongly-bracketed eaves, and windows grouped together and rounded at the top. Most had flat roofs, and some had a Belvedere on top.3
Mansard Roof – 1870-80: This style is most commonly seen in towns and is less common in the country side. The mansard roof is a steep sloped roof “which may be in the shape of a concave curve. Bay windows, ornate dormers, and sometimes iron railings on the crest of the roof are all elements of the design.”4
Ell-Shaped - ~1880-1910: According to Rogers, ell-shaped houses did not always start out as such. “Sometimes an earlier house was updated by the addition of a kitchen wing, often with a veranda across the front of the addition.”5
1900-1930: During this time period there was a transition from the elaborate Victorian style back to the more simplistic designs. “Large two storey houses were built with hip roofs and a rectangular shaped central dormer. Many houses of this type have small panes in the upper part of a window and a large pane below.”6
The houses have been organized by style to the best of my ability. Having no background in architectural design, there are sure to be some houses that have been incorrectly categorized, for this I must express my apologies.
I would also like to thank Lance Lowther for taking me for a “historic homes tour” around Cornwall. Without his help this inventory would not be possible. Lance patiently pointed out all the homes that stood in Cornwall during his childhood; many of the homes being well over 100 years old.
Also included in this inventory are photos of two homes that were demolished this year. Both homes were over 100 years old.