Heritage Register

251 Howe Street

Built 1911

For: John Johnson

Architect: William D'Oyly Rochfort

251 Howe


This 1½ storey front-gabled house was designed in an Edwardian Vernacular Arts & Crafts style and built for $2,750. Originally a full-width recessed verandah had an entrance offset to the left and lattice work enclosed the space below. The left side of the verandah was likely enclosed first, with the garage added below. The square posts and the front box bay are still visible on the right side enclosure, built later. The roof and the two gabled dormers have wide overhanging open eaves, exposed rafter tails and large turned finials at the peaks. While both sides have wall dormers, the north one is through the cornice whereas on the south dormer the roofline is continuous with braces below. This is likely a later modification. The exterior is clad in cedar shingles. A double-width belt course separates the main and upper levels. Most of the original windows are double-hung in banks of two or three. Upper sashes are slightly smaller and have horns, and some feature leaded panes. The front gable triple window is glazed with 6-over-1. The south side box bay has a triple window with an art glass transom above a fixed centre pane. The north dormer features a pair of long art glass windows.

Contractor John Valdimar Johnson (1889-1963) built this house, but never lived here. He built 2744 Avebury Av (Oaklands) in 1914 as a home for himself and his new wife, Marian Penketh (1891-1957). John was the brother of Byron Ingemar “Boss” Johnson, premier of BC in 1933-37 and 1947-52. John and Byron were the sons of Icelandic immigrants Oliver and Gudrun Johnson and grew up at 1439 Pembroke St (Fernwood).


The earliest known occupants of the house were Malcolm (1869-1943) and Minnie Myrtle (Fox, 1881-1971) Blackstock. They lived here until the late 1930s. Born in Brodick, Scotland, Malcolm came to BC in 1889. He came to Victoria in about 1901 and joined the police force, serving for 30 years before retiring. In 1914 he married Minnie Fox, daughter of Charles Chester Fox and Ellen Gilles Deans (117 Oswego St, James Bay).


By 1939, Laura Susan Keiser, widow of Louis John Keiser (1861-1937), was living here. Louis had worked in the City waterworks dept. Laura married Harold David Gordon Roberts (1899-1955) c.1950. Born in London, England, Harold came to Victoria in 1928. He was a machinist at HMC Dockyard. Laura continued to live here after Harold died until at least the early 1960s.


• Fairfield History

• Fairfield Heritage Register

• This Old House, Victoria's Heritage Neighbourhoods,
Volume Four: Fairfield, Gonzales & Jubilee

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