You don’t know what you’ve got ‘til it’s gone. Never is that more true than when speaking about the coastal architecture of Prince Edward Island. Our coast and the sea, and the structures built along them define us. It is by this shifting margin of land and water that we have lived, worked, traded, built, and played for generations – yet, over the years, we have continued to lose this early architectural heritage, which includes factories, stores, ship-building yards, homes and cottages. Often this loss occurs through erosion, indifference, and a limited understanding of progress. While some loss is unavoidable, valuable traces can still be retrieved through records, research and photographs, and the safeguarding of remaining architectural structures. All this is possible providing we look out again – to the shoreline. Here, unique architectural structures and landscapes speak to Island stories of transportation and safe returns, of community life, as well as of industries of today and of earlier Islanders.
To celebrate and conserve our coastal heritage, the Institute for Architectural Studies and Conservation, in association with Beaconsfield Historic House, invites you to join them for the annual January lecture series, themed for 2013, Saltwater Heritage: The History and Conservation of Our Coastal Architecture. The Institute has assembled a group of specialists to explore stories of our connections with Island shores. Beginning January 7, 2013, the series will be launched with Harry Holman’s Weeping Saltwater Tears: Charlottetown’s Disappearing Maritime Heritage. The Director of Culture, Heritage and Libraries, sailor and former Provincial Archivist, will draw on his extensive knowledge of the local waters and present an illustrated lecture using historical and contemporary images to reveal the changes to waterfront and maritime architecture and institutions.
On January 14, Carol Livingstone, President, PEI Lighthouse Society and Josh Silver, Red Seal Carpenter and Learning Manager, Heritage Retrofit Carpentry Program, Holland College, will present Lighting the Way: History, Form and Function in Lighthouse Conservation of PEI. Together, they will explore these iconic forms of coastal architecture and the close relationships between their architectural features and their varied designs.
Parks Canada Historian, Dr. Monica MacDonald, will visit us from Halifax, January 21, to speak about one of the most stately seaside summer residences of PEI, and national historic site, in her illustrated presentation, Dalvay-by-the-Sea: A Historical Overview. She will look into the many lives of this former retreat of American industrialist, Alexander McDonald.
Completing the series on January 28, Boyde Beck, popular historian, author, and Curator of History, PEI Museum and Heritage Foundation, tells the fascinating story of Green Park and Beaconsfield, the former houses of shipbuilders, James Yeo (Jr.), and James Peake (Jr.), and the industry that made them in his talk, Green Park and Beaconsfield — Two Shipbuilding Stories.
Saltwater Heritage: The History and Conservation of Our Coastal Architecture, runs on Mondays in January 2013 (7, 14, 21 and 28) from 7 pm, at Beaconsfield’s Carriage House. Admission is open to the public by donation. Storm dates to be announced via local media.