William Tuplin built the house in 1867, two years after moving into Summerside from Margate. He was one of the foremost carriage builders of his day and employed many workers at his busy factory on Water Street. The house was described in a December 1867 newspaper article as "one of the largest in the Town and has a very nice verandah all around it, and a cupola on the top from which a very fine view may be had of the harbor and surrounding country".
John Lefurgey enlarged and embellished the original 2-1/2-storey house to an ornate Gothic Revival style. The pediment entry of the front verandah is surmounted with a lovely curved bay window with a small balcony above it. A delicate flowing line of bargeboard trim edges the centre gable that points to the original crowning feature, the octagonal belvedere.
That same year she provided living and teaching space on the first floor for artist Ardis Desborough. Renovations were gradually made and the house was officially opened in July 1971 as a "Handcrafts Centre". In 1973, the building began to be known as the Lefurgey Cultural Centre when an Opportunities for Youth project made it possible for four local students to spend the summer promoting the work of artists and craft persons in the town and at the same time to give tours of the historical home of John Lefurgey.
Over the years, some of the courses have included glass blowing, weaving, painting, silk screening, copper enameling, quilting, and woodturning. On a seasonal basis, a pottery studio has been located in the basement. The facility has also housed exhibits of paintings, photographs, and crafts and has provided retail space for local artists. For a number of years the Malpak Arts Council utilized space in the centre.
In the past, there have been classes as diverse as yoga, and canning, and the occasional lecture or film presentation. Music lessons have been given, the Summerside Historical Society has held its meetings, local musicians have gathered for a weekly folk club, and members of a rug-hooking group have worked on a major project. The spacious lawn has been used for ice cream and blueberry socials sponsored by local groups. The summer of 2002 saw the yard and verandah being used for "concerts in the garden" and for the first annual Summerside Folk Festival.
For information on the current use of the building click here.
W y a t t H e r i t a g e P r o p e r t i e s