Heritage Register
James Bay

521 Michigan Street
(ex-80 Michigan St)

Built 1892

For: Frank Armstrong

521 Michigan


This two-storey Victorian cottage has a wide, pedimented front gable above a full-width inset verandah. The house is unusual in that its second floor has a pronounced flare above the beltcourse, giving it the appearance of having a Mansard roof. Smaller pedimented gables on either side separate the front gable from the hipped roof on the rear. The two side gables which are towards the rear are above shallow, upper-storey, box bays. On the left side at the rear of the main floor is a shallow, cantilevered, box bay. In the verandah is a wide angled bay to the right of the entrance door. The entire house is clad in shingles. It was assessed at $400 in 1893; the Colonist listed an addition of $1,000 in 1907, which would have been the second floor.


Frank and Alice Armstrong moved to Victoria from their native town of St. John, NB c.1891. Frank was a customs officer for many years and died in 1932 at 73. Alice lived here until 1935 and died in 1946 at 87.


From 1936 until c.1942, Agnes (Barner) McDowell, widow of Asa McDowell, resided here. Asa was a proof reader for the Victoria Daily Colonist for several years prior to 1925, at which point he left for Portland, Oregon. He died in 1935 at the Union Printers’ Home in Colorado Springs, leaving his wife, children and grandchildren in Victoria. Agnes lived in Victoria for 35 years before moving to the mainland, where she died in 1965 at 87.


• James Bay History

• James Bay Heritage Register

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

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