Heritage Register
James Bay

648 Niagara Street
(ex-32 Niagara St)

Built 1891

For: Martha & Thomas Haughton & Edward Wadsworth

648 Niagara


Like its similar, but reversed, partner at 652 Niagara, this tall, narrow, two-storey Cubical Italianate has a shallow hipped roof with sandwich brackets in the eaves above all the casings and corner boards. Each side of the house has one bracket on the corners and one in the centre. There is a five-sided-hip-roofed, full-height, angled bay on the front right, and a single window above a flat-top, hip-roofed porch on the left. The same sandwich brackets are used above the casings of the lower bay and on the porch posts. There are two slim, chamfered porch posts and two pilasters, and vertical balusters in the balustrades. The stairs are front facing. The roof of the porch and the posts have been altered, as seen in earlier but not original photos, which show a wider porch with three large square posts. The front of the house was at one time shingled over the original drop siding; shingles still remain on the sides and rear, with a beltcourse separating the two floors. The skirting below the water table is vertical drop siding; the foundation is concrete. Only one corbelled brick chimney remains.


The Haughtons (1444-48 Pembroke St, Fernwood) and Wadsworth owned the house from 1891-96, but they never lived here. Miss V. and Miss E.H. Wadsworth worked in Thomas Haughton’s store, Manchester House, in 1892. No other record of the Wadsworths could be found. From 1897 to 1900, the property was owned by E.S. Pope and then Mrs. Pope. During that 10 years, this was a rental property.


The residents from 1892-c.1903 were Frederick and Lydia (Withers) Winkel. Their family had then grown, and Frederick built a larger house on Niagara St, which was later demolished for an apartment block. Frederick, born in Norwich, England, and Lydia, from Berkshire, arrived in Victoria in 1888. Frederick was a caretaker for the Methodist Church and later for Metropolitan United. He died in 1948 at 90, Lydia in 1945 at 87.

Joseph and Elizabeth (Dunn) Richards purchased this property in 1901. He and Arthur Tobin, of 652 Niagara St, plumbed both houses in 1903. Joseph was born in Probus, Cornwall, England in 1857 and came to Victoria in 1890. He was janitor for the James Bay Athletic Association, then became a City employee. He was still living here when he died in 1922. Elizabeth was born in St Erme, Cornwall, and came to Victoria in 1891. She died in 1924 at 70.

Through the mid and late 1920s, Mrs Fanny Rivers, wife of John Rivers, a cashier at the Capitol Theatre, lived here with her daughters Kathleen, a saleswoman at Bon Ton confectioners, and Ruth, a Dominion Theatre usher. Fanny and John divorced in 1931 after 25 years of marriage, and she married David Davies. Ruth married truck driver Frederick Harknett in 1928. Fred and his brother Leonard lived in the house with Ruth till 1931, when Ruth and Frederick broke up. Their marriage was dissolved, and Ruth remarried in 1935 to Clifford Hilton.

By 1937, Leonard Harknett had returned to the house with his wife Euphemia (Laing). Leonard was born in Devon, England in 1903 and came to Victoria in 1921. He worked in the fishing industry and later as a mink rancher. He died in 1971.

From 1943-46, shipyard worker John H. Smith and his wife Violet lived here. Catherine Caddell (646 Niagara St) lived here from 1948 until her death in 1962.


• James Bay History

• James Bay Heritage Register

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

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