1700 Block Princess Avenue / 200 Block 17th Street
(Lots 9/10, Block 13, Plan 2)
Designation Date: February 17, 2003
Designation Authority: The City of Brandon
This block of land was originally subdivided into twenty equal-sized lots and made available for sale in 1882. Ten years later, in 1892, local hardware merchant and former mayor James A. Smart purchased the four lots at the north end of the block and proceeded to have a large house built on the property. Smart also had built a stable, a separate servants’ house, and a pool for his children.
In 1899, Smart sold the property to another prominent local businessman, Charles Whitehead. After several other business ventures, Whitehead became president of the board of directors at the Brandon Sun. His son, Joseph B. Whitehead, would gain full control of the paper in 1911. In 1900, Charles Whitehead purchased the remaining sixteen lots from the various owners and then hired a Scottish stone mason to construct a stone wall around the entire block. This task took four years to complete. The property was later passed on to Whitehead’s daughter, Margaret, who in turn passed it on to her son, John Mitchell. In 1939, the lots south of the residence were sold and single family homes were constructed in the following years. The fence now sits on property owned by seven different land owners.
Only a portion of the original stone fence remains along the east and south borders of the block, but it remains an attractive enhancement to the surrounding properties and a unique characteristic of the downtown area.