Beck's Home Furniture, Gifts and Interiors is located in an early 20th century warehouse near the Montague waterfront. The large 45 feet by 120 feet three-storey rectangular building is on its original site and has a concrete foundation with an entrance at the basement level. It has a wood frame and a wood-shingled exterior.
The building is valued as a link to the economic history of Montague; for its architectural style; and for its contribution to the streetscape.
At the beginning of the 20th century, George A. Thompson and William Leith Poole collaborated to form a very successful mercantile business in Montague. They had a general merchant store on Main Street, and by 1912 decided to expand their business enterprise by building a large warehouse near the waterfront behind their store.
They became exporters of Island produce such as potatoes, carrots, grain, and timber to Cuba. They also imported goods such as fertilizer, coal, hardware and building supplies. Many of the goods were sent from the warehouse by schooner in wooden barrels. A cooper shop was located near the warehouse which was able to produce as many as 500 barrels per day. At one point in its history, the Poole and Thompson company was shipping 18,000 barrels of potatoes to the Cuban market.
The business suffered a setback in 1929, when a fire destroyed the store on Main Street. The warehouse then assumed a more important role since the store was relocated there. The company continued to employ dozens of people.
By 1940, Leith Poole had died and his son, William "Herb" Poole became the head of the company. He passed on in 1959, as did his brother Lou Poole, in 1962. The business had been in the Poole family for over fifty years.
Later owners of the building included George Brookins, Richard "Dick" MacLean, and Emmett and David Power, who used it chiefly as a potato warehouse.
The property remained mostly derelict until 1990, when it was purchased by Stewart and Beck Limited. Barry and Nancy Beck extensively renovated the building and operate a furniture and home style business.
As the last former warehouse on the Montague waterfront, it remains an important reminder of the economic history of the town.
Source: Culture and Heritage Division, PEI Department of Communities, Cultural Affairs and Labour, Charlottetown, PE
The following character-defining elements illustrate the heritage value of the building:
- the three-storey wood frame construction
- the wood-shingle cladding
- the large configuration of 45 feet by 120 feet
- the concrete basement
- the low sloped roof
- the fenestration of the windows
- the location of the former warehouse near the Montague waterfront