Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Queen Hotel

About a week ago I posted an archival image that Charlotte Perkins had taken of the Queen Anne Inn in Annapolis Royal. Prior to this building on upper St George Street being renamed the Queen Anne Inn in the 1920s, its owners, the McPherson family, had another property called the Queen Hotel. This earlier building, featured in the photograph in this post, was destroyed in Annapolis Royal's great fire in 1921.

In the 1830s, a man named John McLeod built a hotel on St George Street directly across from Fort Anne. This hotel he named the Dunvegan House. In 1873 the property was purchased by the Perkins family (the parents of Charlotte Perkins who took this picture) who operated an inn until they moved up the street to the Hillsdale House in 1895. When the Perkins family sold the hotel, it underwent a series of additions and structural changes. The building we see in this picture has most of these Victorian additions.

By the time this picture was taken, the simple Georgian Inn with the gambrel roof had undergone quite a metamorphosis. To imagine this building as it was built, you first need to start subtracting pieces. The first thing to go is the turret. The original structure would have included only the shuttered window to the right and two windows to the left of the turret. To create the Georgian symmetry of the house, another window would have obviously been where the turret is located. The section with the three small dormers and an entryway for carriages would have been added shortly before this picture was taken. This image, by the way, was taken between 1905 and 1910.

In 1921, Annapolis Royal's great fire started in the livery behind the Queen Hotel. Legend has it that a young stable hand started the fire to see how long it would take to put it out. For the record, it took a long time. While this building was one of the first casualties, it was not alone. Approximately 1/3 of the downtown section of Annapolis Royal was burned. At its peak, houses were dynamited to create a fire break which would protect St Luke's Anglican Church.

All for now,

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