340 Water Street, Summerside, PEI

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Historical building, yes, but also a workplace for my Summerside family for so many years!  I can not help but keep the images of the place in my heart because it is a place that is a part of my identity, just as the woolen mill, here in the west, is.  The description and historical significance appears below in blue and was collected from this site.

DESCRIPTION OF HISTORIC PLACE

The large three-storey flat roofed warehouse at 340 Water Street is clad in white vinyl. It is located west of the Central Street intersection overlooking the harbour. It is situated between the street and the former railway line now part of the Trans Canada Trail. The registration includes the building and its lot.

HERITAGE VALUE

The large three-storey structure at 340 Water Street has been a landmark on the harbourfront of Summerside for over 130 years. It has considerable historical significance as the warehouse of the prominent Lefurgey family who shipped produce in vessels that were constructed on the land south of the building.

The plain building was built for John E. Lefurgey who purchased the lot running south to the shoreline in 1873. The date of the building’s construction is assumed to be before 1878 when its presence is marked on Ruger’s Panoramic Map. Its shape indicates that it was constructed to run adjacent to the railroad bed which was laid in the early 1870s.

Mr. Lefurgey, who had come to Green’s Shore in the 1850s as a general merchant, built many ships to use in his business of shipping oats and potatoes to markets in Great Britain. The large warehouse building provided ample space for the storage of produce. Mr. Lefurgey was active in town affairs and represented the Summerside area in the House of Assembly from 1870 to 1890.

After his death in 1891, the estate was left in the hands of his wife, the former Dorothea Read, and his son, William. When William died in 1893, his brothers, John Ephraim (J.E.) and Alexander Alfred (A.A.) took over the family business. J.E. Lefurgey was well known in the community and served for a time on the town council. In 1905, he purchased real estate in Vancouver and shortly afterwards settled there. Alfred Lefurgey, a Harvard law graduate, served in the PEI Legislature in 1897 and was elected to the House of Commons in 1900, representing East Prince until 1908.

The Lefurgey warehouse passed from family ownership in 1909. The new owner of the substantial property was William H. Edgett, a produce dealer in Moncton. He and John Grady, the accountant for the firm of David Rogers & Sons for many years, formed the Edgett Grady Company for the purpose of buying and selling local produce. The business was bought out in 1912 by the Montreal firm of Gunn Langlois, which specialized in the handling and shipping of eggs and poultry.

In 1916, during W.W. I, all three floors of the eastern portion of the building were used by the 105th Battalion for the sleeping quarters of Summerside recruits. In December of that year, after a major fire on Water Street destroyed many buildings, the firm of Sinclair & Stewart moved several of its departments into the vacated section of the building and occupied it for almost a year.

The firm of Gunn Langlois ceased operations in Summerside around 1932 and the building changed hands in 1933. Lorne MacFarlane, a partner in the MacFarlane Produce Company, became sole owner in August 1934. A month later he sold the portion of land between the building and the edge of the water to Percy Tanton and his son Ray who wanted it for a mill and lumberyard. In 1960, that land became the property of the Irving Oil Company.

Lorne MacFarlane was one of several individuals who formed the PEI Bag Company Limited, which began manufacturing jute bags for the packing and shipping of potatoes and other produce. In 1937, an addition was built on the south side of the structure and in 1941, a sprinkler system was installed. The success and expansion of the bag business eventually necessitated the use of the whole building and in 1944, the MacFarlane Produce Company moved to other premises. Some reinforcement of the building took place in 1949 when a fifteen-ton machine to cut, print, and fold bags, was installed on the third floor.

Over the years, production has expanded to include bags made from paper and polypropylene to meet the needs of customers who package various types of produce, including potatoes. The business has continued to prosper and is currently owned by descendents of its founders.

Source: City of Summerside, Heritage Property Profile

CHARACTER-DEFINING ELEMENTS

The following character-defining elements illustrate the heritage value of the building:

– the three-storey massing and form of this industrial building with flat roof and large footprint that parallels the adjacent former railway line
– the placement of windows and doors representing a mainly functional purpose, on the north elevation they provide a sense of balance and are 2 over 2
– the ongoing contribution to the historic streetscape reflective of industrial commercial activities

These are my own photographs, snapped during my visit to the island in 2011.

Apparently Roger Wells had plans for the building and this article states that in 2013 the city rejected the idea of using it as storage for antique cars.  The article mentions that it was put up for sale at that time.  Now, I’m going to go digging to see what’s happened with it since.  What an amazing art gallery and studio space that would be!

I know that of my relations, my Auntie Gladys likely worked there the longest.

PEI Bag Company

 

Summerside Homestead: 327 First Street

My Mom spent the first 12 years of her life in this home.  It was a home of hard-workers…of potato pancakes and many Catholic children.  Papie, my Great Grandfather, shoveled coal for most of his life and delivered it when he was lucky.  The homestead has been divided into five separate apartments and is no longer a part of our family, but it was ‘magical’ to return the the spot I had visited as a little girl.  I remember waiting for my Great Grandmother, Mamie, to come home from her Friday night bingo game, my ear pressed against the register in the wood floor upstairs.

327 First Street

Closer Up

First Street: Summerside

The Bag Company

In total, three of my Island relations put in 100 years or more working in the PEI Bag Company.  The Company is closed down now and a new company is located in Badeque, also on the Island.  My great aunt worked with the Company for 40 years in all, sewing potato bags until 9 p.m every night.  My great uncle, after returning from the war with a bullet that remained always lodged in his leg, worked with the Bag Company for over 30 years, along with his wife.  Of course they were assigned to different shifts.  He told me on the visit that he had a day shift and he could make it home at lunch on 1st Street, have a jam sandwich, watch Let’s Make a Deal and get back to punch the clock on time.  It was something that I needed to archive.  After reading about my Acadian side, I know that they were a hard-working lot and I want to make note of that tonight.

PEI Bag Company

East Side of the Building

West Side

Harbour Side

Closed and Abandoned

Brothers Two Restaurant, Summerside

My Decorated Great-Uncle

I cried in the parking lot of the Brothers Two Restaurant tonight.  As my Great-Uncle Earl gave me a big-bear hug, I couldn’t let go.  I wanted to keep that moment forever.  I wanted time to stop. My Great-Auntie Gladys and I cried. 

Great Uncle Earl's Treat

I noticed as I signed Earl’s guest book at his home that on the very first page of this book were my Mom and Dad’s signatures from a trip they had made out to the Island in 2002.  I am so grateful that they made that trip together.  And Mom’s remaining family will always remember it! My signature is now in the very same book.  I made the journey home to the Island for all of my family.

I love my Great-Auntie!

A meal shared, good stories, laughs and memories brought us close to one another.  I will  carry these Islanders in my heart.

Last Friday Night Bingo: Just as My Mamie Used to Do!

Cap Pele

Herring Smokehouse
 

I went off of 15E in order to really experience the village of Cap Pele, a place that literally breaths history, a rich warm smell of smoked fish and salt water.  Overlooking the  Northumberland Strait, there is an earthy wonderful isolation about the place.  I had chills go up my spine because it was as though I was in a story where I didn’t belong.  I decided to stop into a wee tourist museum that had Acadian flags batting hard in the wind that blew off the water.  Two friendly ladies walked about with me, sharing what they knew of the smokehouses. 

Cool stuff having to do with fish, fishing and smoking fish!

 

In the corner, I was immediately drawn to a piece of art…dried herring, authentic netting, memorabilia of every sort layered between coats of resin.  I felt like this artist was a soulful friend, connecting with me in his approach.  I’ve got to find out more about this artist!  Beginning the search….now!

Claude Rouselle: Cap Pele

Max and I headed down to the dock to catch a glimpse of the boats and the water.  A wee piece of heaven!

Boats at Dock
 

Looking to the Southeast

 

Home for Smoked Herring