December 3, 2022


Allison Peck House – Hillsborough

Allison Peck House – Hillsborough

The Allison Peck House is a two-storey Queen Anne Revival dwelling with a large two-storey bay window. Built in 1870, this residence is located on Main Street in the centre of the Village of Hillsborough

The Allison Peck House was designated a Local Historic Place for its architecture, for its association with the people who have lived there and for the charm it has lent to the center of the village since 1870.

A store has stood on this corner since 1820; however, it was not until 1870 that John A. Beatty added this attached house as his residence. This residence is an excellent example of rural Queen Anne Revival architecture in New Brunswick.

Mr. Beatty converted the store to an apothecary from which he dispensed drugs until 1895. John A. Beatty was the son of John Beatty Sr., who owned the Bay View Hotel across the street on the northeast corner of Mill and Main Streets. John A. apprenticed to become an apothecary and opened the second drug store in the village in 1870. 

In 1894 Mr. C. Allison Peck, the son of Hopewell lawyer and member of the Provincial Legislature, Charles A. Peck, finished his training as a druggist and decided to set up shop in Hillsborough. He bought Mr. Beatty’s house and store and also won the hand of his daughter, Mary Beatty. Before the turn of the century, Mr. Peck had completed three years of correspondence courses and passed the exam to become an optometrist. Although he dispensed drugs for sixty years, retiring in 1955, his career as an optometrist spanned sixty-seven years ending with his passing in 1964 when he was 92 years of age, and the oldest practicing optometrist in North America. He and his wife introduced the first ice cream parlour to the village and the “toyland” they featured on the second floor of their store each Christmas rivalled the displays of their much larger competitors in nearby Moncton. In addition to his professional pursuits, Mr. Peck was a noted geologist, naturalist and gardener.

Mr. Peck’s career as a druggist spanned many of the years during which the sale of liquor was prohibited in New Brunswick between 1884 and 1927. During prohibition possession of liquor in the home was not illegal; however, its sale, or public consumption was a criminal offence. The one exception was the sale of liquor for medicinal purposes. After his visit to the doctor the next stop was to a drug store to have the prescription filled. Behind C. Allison Peck’s house and drug store was a hand water pump. The wags of the community christened this, ‘the million dollar pump’, maliciously reasoning this to be the value of the water Mr. Peck had used from the pump to dilute liquor before selling it as medicine.

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