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Heritage Register
James Bay

584 Michigan Street
(ex-64, then 545 Superior St,
relocated to 584 Michigan St in 2016)

Built 1891; 2016
Heritage Designated 2016

For: Alexander Black

Architect: Thomas Hooper

545 Superior

ARCHITECTURE:

This 2½-storey, front-gable-on-hip Queen Anne house has an asymmetrical front, and two side-gabled extensions, both 2½ storeys. An offset, two-storey, hip-roofed extension is at the rear. The gabled rear of the front gable perches on the ridge of the two side-gabled extensions. The left and right side extensions are identical: two casement windows in the decorated, pedimented gables above three one-over-one sash windows on the second floor over an angled bay on the main floor. The gable on the front hip has a highly-decorative, jettied, pedimented gable at its apex above a pair of casement windows. The decorated, pedimented gable on the front extension, which is offset to the right, has three casement windows above a two-storey angled bay. Abutted to the left of the extension is a pediment-gabled portico, with a design of scrolls and flowers in the gable which complements the design in the uppermost gable. The portico has brackets in the frieze above pairs of turned posts separated by small round arches. The entrance has glazed, panelled double doors with a transom windoiw window and its original hardware.

The upper floor is clad in bellcast cedar shingles, the main floor in drop siding above a band of vertical V-joint T&G. Red brick is used for the foundation and the chimneys. The house originally had a wrap-around verandah on its right side.

ORIGINAL OCCUPANTS:

Owners: 1891-94: Alexander Black (b. 1841-) was a railway conductor on the E&N in 1889-90. Prior to that he had been a coal miner residing at the Telegraph Hotel. Before he moved into his new house, he lived at the Delmonico Hotel in 1891 and was again working as a miner. By 1901 he was mining gold with his business partner John Mackie in Atlin and Bennett in northern BC.

OTHER OCCUPANTS:

1894-1901: John Alfred Lawrence (b. ENG 1861-) and his wife Annie (b. ENG 1860-) only lived in the house until 1898. John was a confectioner and the proprietor of Steam Candy Works and Chicago Candy Factory on Government St. He later went into real estate. The family left Victoria by 1903.

Tenants: 1899-1901: Walter Gilbert Sparrow (b. Colbourne, ON c.1856-1913) and Maude (née Lancaster, b. Ohio 1868-d. San Francisco 1953); Walter was an accountant, and lived and worked at the Dallas Hotel when he died. His parents Isiah and Helen lived at 225 Quebec St, James Bay, in the early 1900s. Walter came out west to BC as a boy. Owners: 1902-21: John Andrew Anderson (b. Glasgow, SCT 1844-1919) and Jane (b. ENG 1855-1925) owned this property. Their five eldest children were born in New Zealand from the early 1870s before they came to Victoria in 1885. John was BC’s Auditor-General from 1900 until his retirement in 1913. Jane moved in 1924 to live with her eldest daughter in Portland, OR, where she died a year later. Their third son Ernest Melville Anderson (b. NZ 1881-1941) was the assistant curator of the BC Provincial Museum when he married in 1904; he divorced, and when he remarried 10 years later, he was listed as a taxidermist.

1922-29: John Fry (b. Bayford, Somerset, ENG 1871-1946) and Rose May “Rosie” (née Neal, b. Victoria 1894-1971) were married in Christ Church Cathedral (911 Quadra St, Fairfield) in 1912. She was a senior member of the St. John Ambulance Brigade, Victoria Corps. John came to Victoria in 1901 with the Royal Marine Artillery, which he joined at age 18 and remained for 5½ years. With the regiment here, he assisted in mounting the 6” coastal defense guns at Macaulay Point in Esquimalt. Shortly afterwards, John volunteered his services in South Africa with the 2nd Canadian Mounted Rifles; there he won the King’s Medal. He joined the Victoria police force upon his return to the city in 1903. From 1921 until his retirement in 1931, John was the City of Victoria’s Chief of Police. During WWII he worked as a watchman. Rose was born in Victoria to William Neal, a chimney builder and sweep, and Mary Louise Pike, who was born in Victoria in 1870. [Mary’s parents were Caleb Pike and Elizabeth Waldy Lidgate. Caleb came to Fort Victoria in 1850 with two brothers in the service of the HBC; Elizabeth came with her father Duncan Lidgate and family in 1852. They all came on the Norman Morison. Caleb Pike’s later 1883 square-log homestead house is the centre-piece of the Caleb Pike Heritage Park in the Highlands District northwest of Victoria.]

1929: The BC Government puchased the house from the Frys.
Users: 1931: BC Government Department of Industries.
1932-35: BC Government Department of Agriculture and BC Government Forestry Branch.
1936-42: Agriculture and Forestry, and Canadian Government Entomologist. 1943: Agriculture and Forestry.
1944-55: BC Department of Agriculture and Canadian Government Department of Agriculture.

Owners: 2014-16: The five houses still remaining on what is now called Capital Park, a major part of the block south of the Legislative Building, were sold by the provincial government to Jawl Precinct Lands Corp & South Block (Concert) Ltd for redevelopment. They moved the houses off the property, the three on Superior to 580, 584 and 588 Michigan St, and the two on Michigan to 222 and 226 Dallas Rd. They are redeveloping much of the block except for the three houses they moved to the east end of Michigan St, the Robson and Hunter houses around the corner at 506 and 514 Government St, and 563 Superior St, all of which are on the City’s Heritage Register. The company restored the three Michigan St houses, and in 2017 won a Hallmark Heritage Society Award of Merit for their superb work.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION & IMAGES:


• James Bay History

• James Bay Heritage Register

• Hallmark Heritage Society Archives

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


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