Heritage Register

1961 Fairfield Place (ex-1961 Fairfield Rd)

Built 1912
Heritage-Designated 1999

For: Guy Brown

Architect: Elmer Ellsworth Green
Builder: Ward Investment Co

1961 Fairfield Pl


A massive house when it was built for lumber magnate Guy S. Brown, this seems even more daunting now that the second-storey porch has been filled in, another storey has been added to the attached garage, and a large cantilevered bay has been added on the left side. The mansion, built into a steep hill, is 2½ storeys at the front, plus an above-ground basement level, but from the rear it appears to be a modest 1½-storey California Arts & Crafts Bungalow. The colossal stone piers on the front reach up 1½ storeys, but two front-facing gables and a dormer in the large side-gabled roof soften the effect. A prosaic metal garage door has replaced the original double doors which had an arched window to match the three surviving arches across the front façade. (Corbels on the pillars are evidence of a former bracketed porch roof - see below.) The recessed front porch is unusual for its keyhole entry, which leads to open stairs up to the front door on the generous porch. Other details of interest include large stone chimneys, birdsmouth bargeboards and heavy brackets in the Craftsman style, a curved bay within the porch, a second entrance on the right, a rounded bay with shed roof and an angled bay with hipped roof on the right side. The original garden wall echoes the stone of the house, and defines extensive landscaped grounds. Architect E.E. Green was from Seattle, but maintained an office in Victoria 1912-15 (953 Empress Av, North Park).


Guy Brown was at one time treasurer of Canadian Puget Sound Lumber Co and of Ward Investment Co (WIC), home builders. WIC was in Victoria by November 1911, with John H. Moore, president and Guy S. Brown, secretary-treasurer. From 1906 to 1910, Moore was manager of Michigan Pacific Lumber Co. In June 1911 that company amalgamated with Jordan River Lumber Co and Michigan Puget Sound (formerly Sayward’s) Mill to become Canadian Puget Sound Lumber Co (CPSLC). CPSLC shared management with WIC: Moore was president and Brown, secretary-treasurer. Both WIC and CPSLC were still advertising in the 1915 Henderson’s Victoria Directory. In 1917 Guy Brown was listed as a realtor and financial agent in the firm of Brown & Heath Ltd. By 1918 the CPSLC mill on Victoria Inner Harbour was leased to Cameron Lumber Co Ltd (1320 Purcell Pl, Rockland) and Brown was treasurer of Queen Charlotte Spruce Co Ltd, with an office at 1218 Langley St, Victoria. He was also dealing in timber lands.


By 1921 Brown had sold the house to John (1879-1957) and Harriet Cotsford (MacKay, 1881-1958) Hart, who lived here for the rest of their lives. John Hart was born in County Leitrim, Ireland, in 1829 and settled in Victoria in 1898. He married Harriet in 1908. Harriet was the great granddaughter of John Dunn, who wrote History of the Oregon Territory and the British North American Fur Trade, and daughter of Harriet Cotsford and Donald MacKay, who was a prominent representative of the HBC.

John Hart was elected to the BC Legislature in 1916 and the following year he was appointed Minister of Finance. He retired from the Oliver Government in 1924. He went into business in Vancouver and remained there nine years until he was again elected Liberal candidate for Victoria. Hart was re-elected in 1933 and 1937, and once again appointed Minister of Finance, this time in the Pattulo Government (924 McClure St, Fairfield). Following his re-election in 1941, he was appointed Premier of the wartime Coalition Government, which he remained until he retired in 1947.


• Gonzales History

• Gonzales Heritage Register

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

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