history of the holman ICE CREAM parlour (Former Holman Homestead)
The Holman Homestead: 1855-2016
In 1854 the Roman Catholic Church from Indian River PEI was moved from its old location to Summerside, to serve the growing Roman Catholic population in the area. A parochial house (the resident of the priest serving the church) was built, being completed the next year (1855). This parochial house became the core component of the Holman Homestead. In 1869 the church (which rested on the same property as the house) was moved elsewhere. The priest, who needed to move along with the church, in 1870 sold the house to an up and coming merchant in Summerside, Robert Tinson Holman. Over the coming years (1870-1890) Mr. Holman expanded the homestead vastly, its peak capacity being 14 individuals including Mr. Holman's wife, mother in law, children, and servants.
Robert Tinson Holman
Robert Tinson Holman c. 1900
Robert Tinson Holman was born in Saint John New Brunswick, the youngest son of James Holman, an English immigrant whom had set up a small mercantile business in the maritimes. Robert's first business venture was a store that he set up in Charlottetown PEI along with his oldest brother Samuel. After the unfortunate passing of his brother in 1852 Robert closed the store and moved on to new ventures. In 1855 he entered a business in Summerside along with his brother James. In 1871 James passed away, leaving to Robert all of his business holdings (including the Island Park Resort on Holman's Island). Although the resort was one of the largest in Canada at that time, even including two bowling alleys, the swarms of mosquitos on Holman's Island could not be overcome and the resort was closed, burning down in 1904 after a decade of low maintenance. Thankfully Robert's other acquisitions from his brother were more fruitful and by 1875 Mr. Holman owned most of the Summerside waterfront. Using his accumulated wealth Robert constructed one of the largest buildings on the island at that time: a four storey brick building that was to become Holman's Department Store. Robert Holman Passed away in December of 1906, mere months after successfully petitioning to have his holdings consolidated into R.T. Holman Ltd. He left his home to his widowed wife (Ellen) and two of his daughters (Carrie and Gladys) and his business of two of his sons (James and Harry).
Holman's General Store c. 1882
Island Park Resort c. 1880
Holman's Homestead Garden
Holman Garden c. 1875
The Holman Homestead Garden was founded during the 1870s by Ellen Holman (wife of Robert Holman). Mrs. Holman, at that time, wished to have the most up to date garden in terms of style at that time. Queen Victoria having taken the throne three decades prior was now making her mark on the whole of the era (known as the Victorian era) thus the most popular style at this time was Victorian. The garden, having been continually maintained by Ellen until her death in 1939 (partially as a testament to her late husband) continued to be maintained by her daughters (Carrie and Gladys Holman) and then throughout the plethora of owners since then. This makes the Holman Homestead's Garden one of the oldest, if not the oldest, continually maintained Victorian Style Gardens in North America.