Heritage Register

298 Moss Street

Built 1912

For: J. Lennox Wilson

Designer/Builder: J. Lennox Wilson

298 Moss


This 1-storey California Bungalow was built for $2,600. Sited on a narrow corner lot, the house features a low-pitched front-gabled roof, which extends to shelter the offset front porch. There are two brick chimneys. Wide open eaves reveal exposed rafter tails, extended beam ends and notched bargeboards. The open gable of the front porch displays heavy timber beams and trusses. The porch roof is supported by panelled battered posts on large square pedestals of parged concrete. A simple balustrade is made up of two heavy horizontal wooden members. Concrete steps have wrought iron railings – perhaps a later addition. The front door has brass hardware and is glazed with two narrow vertical panes with brass cames. There is a wide but shallow gabled projecting box bay on the right side. Cladding consists of rustic lap siding with unequal coursing and the base angled outward. Narrow fixed and casement windows are mostly arranged in banks of three and four. The upper portions of the sashes have geometric muntin designs. Basement windows are narrow and horizontal. All casings feature extended lintels. There is a detached period garage at the back of the lot on Oxford St. Alterations include a back deck and sliding glass doors.


Contractor and speculator J. Lennox Wilson (see 235 Howe St) quickly sold this house to the Geiger family, who resided here for 20 years. Charles William Geiger (1877-1954) was born in Victoria to Thomas and Amelia Geiger, who immigrated from Germany in the early 1860s. Charles joined the clothier firm W.J. Wilson when he was 15 years old, and worked there for over 60 years, except for a brief period in 1899-1900, when he ran off to the Yukon Goldrush. In 1908 he married Violet Ethelda Semple (1888-1936), who was born in Victoria, to pioneers Alexander William Semple, and Emmeline Oldershaw, daughter of Mary Anne Steen and Alfred Oldershaw (715 Catherine St, Vic West). The Geigers were living at 573 Michigan when Violet died of accidental poisoning.


Ethel Isabel (Blanchard, 1878-1946), widow of Frederick Temple Cliff (1879-1927), lived here c.1939-41. She was born in Greenbush, ON, and married Frederick in Vancouver in 1905. Frederick was a fish cannery manager in Ucluelet. He died from burns after falling into a tank of hot fish oil. Ethel was left to raise four children on her own. She never re-married, but remained in Victoria. Ethel was a member of the PEO Sisterhood, that promotes educational opportunities for women.

Arthur Herbert Sidney (1886-1973) and Helen Taylor (Raleigh, 1886-1974) Marrion bought this house by 1943 and lived here until the late 1940s. Born in Croydon, England, Arthur came to Victoria with his family in 1886. He taught woodwork class for over 40 years at South Park elementary, Victoria High and Boys’ Central school. Interested in geology, he was a long-standing member of the Victoria Natural History Society. Helen was born in Minneapolis, MN, and came to Vancouver, BC with her family in 1894. She was a school teacher in the Okanagan Valley and the Lower Mainland before she married Arthur in 1912 and moved to Victoria. Helen and Arthur were members of the Emmanuel Baptist Church.

Ralph S. and Helen E. Fonberg bought this house in the late 1940s and lived here until the mid-1950s. Ralph was a federal government architect. They later moved to Ontario.


• Fairfield History

• Fairfield Heritage Register

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

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