Heritage Register
James Bay

301 Kingston Street (ex-80 Kingston St)
Spring Cottage

Built 1891
Heritage-Designated 1977

For: Charles & Agnes Spring

Architect: John Teague

301 Kingston


This 1½-storey Victorian Queen Anne house, built for $5,300, has two hipped roofs and a front-facing, gabled wing with modillions in the eaves. Two diamond-paned casement windows in the gable sit above a bracketed, wide angled bay. To the left of the bay is the original panelled double entry door and transom within an angled porch. The porch has a bracketed frieze between four turned and fluted posts with Corinthian capitals. The balustrades have decorative millwork over slim, square balusters. The front steps with flared banisters now come straight out from the entry. The porch continues around the left side of the house and meets the wall of a Lunenburg “bump”. The five-sided Scottish dormer of the bump, on the front hip of the roof, is separated from the rear hip by an elaborate chimney. There is a through-the-roof gabled wall dormer on the rear hip. A door in a bracketed, angled corner to the right of the wall dormer gives access to a small open porch. On the right side of the house are two dormers, one shed roofed and one gabled. Below the shed-roofed dormer is a hip-roofed box bay, with a side entrance behind the bay. The windows in the dormers are leaded and diamond-paned, and the upper sashes on the main floor have Queen Anne glass. There is now a picture window under a transom on the front bay. A high beltcourse decorated with bullseyes separates the attic from the main floor. The dormers have diamond-shaped shingles, the frieze is of vertical V-joint T&G, and the body of the house is clad in drop siding. The foundation is shingled. The caps were restored on the two elaborate chimneys after 2003.


1891-1900:The house was built for Agnes and Capt. Charles Spring (b. New Westminster, BC, 1859), ship owner and trader. His father, Capt. William Spring, was born in Russia to Scottish parents and came to Victoria from San Francisco in 1855 on the schooner Honolulu Packet. Charles came to Victoria in 1867 to be educated at St. Louis College. He entered the booming sealing trade, serving on ships skippered by his father. However, Charles was working as a salesman for HBC in 1884 when his father died and he inherited his businesses, including a trading post at Kyuquot. Charles frequently travelled to San Francisco, where he met Agnes Dowdall (b. New York 1862). They married in 1890, and lived in Kyoquot until the mid-1890s. When sealing was banned in the Bering Sea, their business was ruined, and they lived in this house until selling it in 1900. They remained in Victoria until 1920, then moved to Vancouver. Charles died in 1938, Agnes in 1952.


1900-20: James Edgar and Elizabeth Jeanette Butler. James, a master mariner born in Yarmouth, NS, came to the West Coast on the Antwerp c.1890. Here he was skipper on the tug Pilot, then the Isabel, and then a larger towing vessel called the Alexander. He worked for the Dunsmuirs as skipper of the steamer Joan until 1894, then joined deep sea ships. In 1892 James married Elizabeth McMinn, newly arrived from Providence, RI. Actively involved with local charitable institutions such as the Red Cross, Elizabeth died in 1920 at 51. James later married Evangeline Roberts. He died in 1950 at 89.

1920-39: Allan and Frances (Edmonds) Virtue came here from Ontario in 1915. Allan, a retired commercial traveller, died in 1928 at 86. Frances lived here until her death in 1939 at 79.

1940: The house was converted to three apartments.
: Elizabeth (Brown) Ward lived in #3. Her husband Irvin was on active service in WWII. By 1946 directories list Elizabeth as a widow. Born in Edinburgh in 1908, she came to BC in 1929 and Victoria in 1940. She was a cashier at the Crystal Garden, then a bookkeeper. Elizabeth promoted women in business, as an executive member of the Credit Women’s Association, the Business & Professional Women’s Club and the Board of Credit Granters Association. She died in 1969.

Harry and Minnie (Burn) Urwin lived in #1 until the late 1940s. Harry was born in Newcastle-on-Tyne, ENG, came to Moose Jaw, SK, in 1910, and Victoria in the early 1940s. A clerk and bookkeeper, he died in 1966 at 75. Minnie died that year at 74.


• Map of Victoria's Heritage Register Properties

• James Bay History

• James Bay Heritage Register

• This Old House, Victoria's Heritage Neighbourhoods,
Volume Two: James Bay

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