Heritage Register

139 Cook Street

Built 1911

For: John Avery

Designer/Builder: John Avery

139 Cook


This is a 1½-storey, front-gabled bungalow of concrete block with many similarities to 97 Cook St, one block south. The central inset entrance has a porch to the right which, with an open pergola roof, extends the length of the south side. The plain front door has a diamond-shaped light and a leaded glass window to the left. The main front windows are three-part with a big single pane in the middle below a leaded transom. On each side are double-hung sashes, single pane below and multi pane trellis pattern above. Chamfered and moulded square posts support the front balcony, classically inspired spindles form the balustrade of the entire porch and balcony. The south side has a gabled dormer, which, like the main gable, is finished in half timbering and rough cast stucco. The front balcony has a door with a pair of casement windows on each side and matching leaded artglass transoms. The north side, near the rear, has a garage under. The front of the property and both sides have a low wall of rusticated blocks and matching corner posts with wrought iron ball finials. Chimneys are also rusticated cement block. As with 97 Cook, the roof is of slate. This house demonstrates the professional interest of the first owner, John Avery, a contractor who pioneered the use of concrete block. Along with 97 Cook and 2733 Blackwood St (Hillside-Quadra, not by John Avery), it is one of the few early examples of concrete block construction surviving in Victoria. The elaborate balcony and attached trellis rarely survive the Victoria climate.


John Avery lived briefly in this house with wife Ellen and daughter May. By 1912, Charles Herbert Dickie (1858-1947), a mine operator and MP for Nanaimo from 1921-35, was listed on assessments as the owner until at least 1916, but never lived here. Born in Beachville, ON, Charles came to BC in 1885 and in 1888 married Victoria native Eliza Ellen Calvert (c.1872-1926). He married Edith Amy Bennett (1884-1964) after Eliza’s death.


Capt Charles G. Guy, a department manager with A.W. Bridgeman Co, real estate and general finance, lived here in 1913. S. Yew Lee, an interpreter for Immigration, lived here 1914-18. Cecil Sit-Shiu Lee (1895-1971), a native of Victoria, lived here 1919-26. He was a clerk at Merchants Bank. In 1919 in Vancouver Cecil married Grace Won Cumyow (1894-1980) of New Westminster. The Lee family moved to Vancouver in 1927.

The Kramer family bought this house by 1929 and lived here until about 1960. Hyman Kramer (1893-1967) was the proprietor of Northern Junk Co. Born in Latvia, Hyman came to BC in 1918, likely with his wife Etta (Goffee, 1895-1980), a native of Russia.

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