Demolition permit issued for Holman Homestead in Summerside

Colin MacLean colin.maclean@journalpioneer.com
Published on December 17, 2015

SUMMERSIDE  - The fate of the historic Holman Homestead in downtown Summerside is in question.

A demolition permit has been approved by the city for the property, which is located at 286 Fitzroy Street.

The house and its Victorian garden once belonged to Summerside businessman R.T. Holman and was originally built as a Catholic parsonage in 1854.

The owners, Kay and Russell Rogers say they have no plans to make good on that permit until at least sometime in the spring.  

They would rather not have to tear it down, said Kay, so they’re hoping they can find a buyer over the winter.

“It’s a fine old lady, really she truly is a beautiful old house,” said Kay.

“Of course we’d like to have somebody purchase it – it’s certainly worth hanging onto for its historical value… it’s got a lot of history.”

The Rogers purchased the property from the P.E.I. Fox Breeders Association in 2000 to open a gift and antique shop, a life-long dream of Kay’s.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT THE HOLMAN HOMESTEAD

 

They spent 10 months renovating the home and restoring many of its original features.

They opened the Homestead Antiques and Gifts in 2001.

In 2013 the shop was taken over by a daughter who renovated a building at 15 Water Street and moved the business there.

The Holman Homestead has been on the market now for about two years.

While the Rogers say they’ve had several people express interest in the property there have been no offers.

They also approached the City of Summerside to see if it would be interested in buying the property, but the two sides couldn’t reach a deal.

“So what do you do? The expenses go on and we’re now seniors … so it’s time to divest ourselves and of course that’s what we’re trying to do,” said Kay.

If no buyer is found, they would clear the lot and develop it to facilitate its sale.  

But that idea of the community losing the home is not sitting well with the Summerside and Area Historical Society.

Peter Holman, president of the society and a descendent of the home’s namesake, said Wednesday that he was shocked when he heard it could be torn down.

“This is probably one of the most significant historical properties within the city,” said Holman.

His group filed an application with the Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission on Wednesday requesting that the demolition permit be rescinded.

They did that because they believe the public should be consulted before a building of such historic significance to the community is destroyed.

They’re also questioning whether the city had any right to issue the permit.

A city representative confirmed that the home is not a designated heritage building under the city’s bylaws.

“All we’re asking for is time to find out if in fact there are investors out there that are prepared to pay fair market value for the property and preserve it. I believe there is. And as long as the owners are prepared to deal fairly and realistically then that property will sell and can be salvaged,” said Holman.

He added that the historical society plans to schedule some public meetings in the near future to discuss how the community should proceed, though no dates have been set yet.

In the meantime, Kay, a realtor by profession, is handling the sale of the Holman Homestead herself, so anyone interested in knowing more about the listing can call her business cell at: 902-888-7510.

The property is currently listed for $297,700.

Colin.MacLean@JournalPioneer.com

Twitter.com/JournalPMacLean

It’s a fine old lady, really she truly is a beautiful old house. Kay Rogers

Quick Facts about the Holman Homestead:

- Built in 1854 to house the Catholic priest from the church that once stood in what is today the home’s garden.

- Its Victorian garden is one of the oldest in North America and was once famed for its beauty.

- It used to house the P.E.I. Fox Breeder’s Museum.

- It barely survived the great fire of 1906.