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Heritage Register
Fernwood

1803 Belmont Avenue

Built 1913
Heritage-Registered

For: Henry & James Harkness

Architect: Samuel Maclure

1803 Belmont

ARCHITECTURE:

This 1½-storey, cross-gabled Arts & Crafts Bungalow has typical features such as exposed rafter tails and drop finials. There are large through-the-roof wall dormers on either side, the larger one on the right sitting above a square box bay. The wrap-around verandah, with its Classical Revival columns with entasis, pedimented entrance, and eave modillions, dominates the facade. Granite piers support the verandah columns. The front step balustrade is also granite. There is stucco and half-timbering in the gables and bevelled siding on the body of the house. The plan shows the house’s similarities (behind the porch) to “Maclure Chalets” such as 1009 Terrace Av, Rockland, 1899-1900, and 1598 Rockland Av, Rockland, 1904. In 1957 Henrik Rosenbeck converted the house to one suite and three light housekeeping units. The second floor sustained fire damage in 1984.

ORIGINAL OCCUPANTS:
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This house was built for Henry and Jane Harkness a year after 1811 Belmont Av. The plans of both houses were filed under 1803 at City Hall for many years, confusing the issue as to who had designed what.
1913-19: Henry Harkness (b. Gretna, SCT, c.1856-1933) and Jane (née Watson, b. Carlisle, ENG, 1857-1943) came to Victoria in 1898. Henry established a retail and wholesale paint and paper business at 919 Pandora Av. Their son John Watson Harkness became a partner in H. Harkness & Son, decorators; he remained single and retired in 1935 after 35 years in the business. By 1920 the family was living at 212 Linden Av. Jane was a long-time member of First Presbyterian, then United Church. At the time of her death she was residing at 623 Avalon Rd, James Bay, with their daughter Betty and husband Arthur Thomas Hunkin.

OTHER OCCUPANTS:

1920:
Arthur Sanderson Killam, manager of Fleck Bros mining and sawmill supplies at 1210 Wharf, his wife Louisa Jane Bickle, and his father Gilbert Clark Killam (b. Yarmouth, NS, 1863-1945), architect and contractor. [Note: Gilbert was working as an architect in Pasadena, CA, c.1900. He and his wife Mary brought their three USA-born sons to Canada in 1905. Gilbert was a photographer in Hazelton, BC, in 1913-17. He signed attestation papers in 1918 to join the CEF for WWI, taking 10 years off his age to meet the upper age limit of 45.]

Son Arthur married Louisa in Vancouver in 1917. [Note: Louisa was born to Thomas and Jane Ann Bickle in the Dunsmuir coal mining community of Wellington, Vancouver Island, in 1894. They moved to Cumberland and Thomas subcontracted Chinese labourers for the Dunsmuir mines.] By 1921 Arthur was foreman painter for BC Coast Steamship Service (BCCSS), and he and Louisa lived in Fairfield.

1923-25:
Louisa’s uncle John Bickle and his wife Elizabeth married in Vancouver in 1894. John was a merchant in Wellington, then Ladysmith for many years.

1926: Arthur H. Alexander, manager of Holsum Products Ltd, pickle manufacturers, 853 Fisgard St.

1928-31: Vernon Llewellyn Denton (b. Shediac, NB, 1881-1944) and Jane Elizabeth (née Eaton, b. Kings County, NS, 1884-1974) married in 1910. Vernon Denton graduated in 1903 from Acadia University, Wolfville, NS, then Normal School in Regina, SK. He moved to Vancouver in 1908 and became Inspector of Schools. In 1917 he became Instructor of History and Geography at the Provincial Normal School in Victoria and in 1932, principal. In 1938 Acadia University made him an honorary Doctor of Civil Law. He died 24th May 1944 following the year-end picnic with his students; they used the money intended for their banquet and dance to establish the Denton Memorial Book Prize, still awarded yearly by the University of Victoria. Denton wrote or co-authored the BC edition of A New World Geography for Canadian Schools, The Far West Coast (1924), and Simon Frazer (1929), in the Ryerson Canadian History Readers Series. In 1948 Denton Point on Wallace Bight was named for him, to honour his written contribution to B.C.’s coastal history. The Denton’s son Lawrence Judson married Elinor Muirhead, who grew up in 223 Robert St, Vic West.

1933-36: The Rev. George Alfred Reynolds, pastor of First Baptist Church, 1600 Quadra St (North Park), and his wife Effie.
1938: BC Government clerk Alexander Sylvester Paul was a widower. He had married Elizabeth Eva Scott in 1921; both were born in Victoria. His father Edward Burness Paul was the superintendent of city schools. Alex retired in 1957 after 10 years as secretary of Oak Bay Golf Club.
1939-40: Widow Myrtle Gladys Meakes came to Victoria in 1938 and worked until her death in 1940 as housekeeper for Brian Halsey Tyrwhitt Drake, retired Registrar of the BC Supreme Court, who lived at 1601 Belmont Av. Myrtle’s son Ralph T. Meakes, an apprentice at Art-Point Printing, lived with her.

1941: Bertha Griffiths, whose husband John was on WWII active service. 1942: Northwestern Creamery shipper James C. and Hazel I. Marshall. 1943-47: Victoria Super Service mechanic Stanley and Edythe Anfield.
1949-56: Frank Crocker (b. ENG, 1892-1968) and Betty (née Lord) married in Victoria in 1934. Frank was a engineer with Felt & Textiles of Canada Ltd, 25 Montreal St.


ADDITIONAL INFORMATION & IMAGES:

• Fernwood History

• Fernwood Heritage Register

• Hallmark Heritage Society Archives

• This Old House, Victoria's Heritage Neighbourhoods,
Volume One: Fernwood & Victoria West


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