PEI

Charlottetown home reveals pre-Confederation past during renovations

As Ray Campbell began renovating his little Charlottetown house this week, he uncovered something unusual under the plaster: a log house that likely dates back to the 1840s.

'It kind of makes you think back of the early settlers and ... their hardships'

The exterior of 15 Hillsborough Street in Charlottetown. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)

As Ray Campbell began renovating his little Charlottetown house this week, he uncovered something unusual under the plaster— a log house that likely dates back to the 1840s.

Ever since he purchased 15 Hillsborough Street more than a decade ago, Campbell had suspected it might be log construction. One clue is the deep window sills. He'd had a glimpse at some logs during an earlier renovation, but wasn't sure how complete the structure was. 

They're important parts of our history, very important.— Catherine Hennessey, Historian 

"It kind of makes you think back of the early settlers and what they had to, their hardships. They had to work with what they had," Campbell said.   

The house is designated as a heritage property by the City of Charlottetown, so if Campbell wants to do anything more than interior maintenance, he'll have to get a permit and permission from the city, according to Charlottetown's building inspector. 

"I would like to do something with it actually to show to keep the heritage. Maybe reveal a little bit of the logs and stuff like that," he said.

He plans to look into an idea of turning the house into a cafeteria or business. It's in a prime tourist location, across from the port of Charlottetown, where cruise ships unload tens of thousands of passengers each summer. 

Ray Campbell displays the log walls he discovered inside his house in Charlottetown. (Krystalle Ramlakhan/CBC)

'Please don't tear it down'

The house has great historical significance, said historian Catherine Hennessey, who dropped by the home Friday.

She hopes to see the integrity of the building retained. 

"I've seen other houses around town like that, and they're important parts of our history, very important."

Even as CBC News: Compass reporter Krystalle Ramlakhan conducted an interview with Campbell, a passerby walked in the door and issued a plea.

"Please don't tear it down," the man told Campbell.  

"It's part of Prince Edward Island heritage. It was before Confederation, so it does have an historical factor to it," Campbell said, adding his plan will become clearer in the next few months and will have to be flexible based on what he's allowed to do.

The house used to be next door, and was moved to #15 in the 1920s, as was very common in olden days, explained Campbell.

With files from Krystalle Ramlakhan

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