The hard(ware) history of 137-139 Queen Street, Charlottetown

The hard(ware) history of 137-139 Queen Street, Charlottetown
Dodd and Rogers Hardware and the Medical Hall operated by Dr. Simon Dodd are featured prominently in this picture of Queen Street looking south taken in 1890. (City of Charlottetown Archives)

KNOWN BY generations of Islanders as the Rogers Hardware Building, this imposing structure has been the centerpiece of one of Charlottetown’s busiest intersections— Queen and Grafton—since 1867. Its brick construction, round and arched windows and Italianate architecture, meanwhile, have earned recognition from Canada’s Historic Places.

The original owners were Thomas W. Dodd and Benjamin Rogers. Dodd and Rogers had opened a general store in another part of the city in 1859, but by the time Confederation happened eight years later, they were looking for larger premises. In addition to the 28 feet of street frontage the building sits on, they also purchased an adjacent lot on 70 Grafton Street where they constructed a brick warehouse that is still standing and now houses a restaurant.

During the first five years, Dodd and Rogers occupied part of the building while the rest of the structure was rented out to a number of businesses. By 1871, Doctor Simon Dodd (Thomas Dodd’s brother) had opened a pharmacy there called the Medical Hall. It was later taken over by J.G. Jamieson.

Benjamin Rogers bought out his partner in 1904 and changed the name to Rogers Hardware. By 1921, his hardware store occupied the entire building and they continued to be a fixture on the Queen Street landscape until 1988. After Rogers Hardware relocated to their former Grafton Street warehouse, the building was renovated to house a branch of the Canada Trust Company. Its current occupants, MRSB Chartered Accountants, took over the building in 2004.

RIGHT: Benjamin Rogers was one of the original owners of 137-139 Queen St, having constructed a hardware store on the premises with Thomas Dodd in 1867. Rogers served in the Legislative Council from 1878 until 1897 and was named lieutenant governor in 1900. He bought his partner out in 1905. His son, Benjamin Rogers Junior (who also served as mayor of the city), later joined him in the business and the family operated out of the same location until 1988. (Government of P.E.I.)

LEFT: Thomas W. Dodd sold his interest in the company to his partner in 1905. Like Rogers, Dodd was active in the political arena, serving as president of the Legislative Council and Provincial Secretary. In 1900, he left a bequest of $5,000.00 for the establishment of a public library. (Government of P.E.I.)

When this photograph was taken in 1915, the building was divided between Rogers Hardware and a drug store owned by J.G. Jamieson. (City of Charlottetown Archives)

Rogers Hardware occupied the entire building in this streetscape taken in 1921. (City of Charlottetown Archives)

Front and side views of the building as it is today. It has been the home of MRSB Chartered Accountants since 2004. (Andy Walker photos)

The Rogers Hardware Building at 137-139 Queens Street was decorated in 1973 to mark the centennial of P.E.I.’s entry into Confederation in 1873. By the time the Island became Canada’s smallest province, the building’s original owners, Dodd and Rogers Hardware, had already been in business six years. (City of Charlottetown Archives)

Special thanks to Natalie Munn, a heritage researcher with the City of Charlottetown, for helping in compiling the pictures and information.

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