Heritage Register

1385 Rockland Avenue

Built 1911

For: Andrew Bechtel

Architect: William D'Oyly Rochfort

1385 Rockland


This two-storey, slightly-flared-hip-roofed British Arts & Crafts house combines elements of both the Tudor and Georgian Revival styles. The modillions, the symmetrical upper façade, and the high belt course are Edwardian features. There is a one-storey, hip-roofed box bay on the left side and at the rear, a shed-roofed projection. A large centrally-located, hip-roofed box bay on the front façade shelters the main entrance with its panelled door and doubleleaded art glass sidelights. The square upper bay, with leaded art glass, is supported on substantial granite piers with heavy granite capitals. The stair balustrade is stepped and of granite, as is the foundation of the house. There is roughcast stucco and half-timbering above the belt course and on the upper bay, and shingles below. Windows are all multi-lights-over-one, and in groups. The tall, ribbed, brick chimneys are corbelled and have chimney pots.


This house was built for Andrew John Bechtel (1850-1936), who lived here until 1925. Andy was born in Ohio and came to Victoria in 1873. In 1877 he married Rachel Munger (c.1862-1910), a native of Australia who came to Canada in 1867. They had two daughters and two sons, one of whom, Dr. Arthur Daniel Bechtel, lived at 1373 Rockland Av. Rachel died in California in 1910. Andy, an early hotelier, built the Colwood Inn in 1879. After it burned down in 1895, he entered the booming sealing trade. He was also associated with Victoria Machinery Depot (VMD) for over 20 years, eventually as a manager.


This residence was home to a number of families over the next 20 years before being converted to suites. John A. Turner, retired, was a resident in 1926. By 1929, Percy Britten (1873-1945) and Agnes Dora (Hill, 1888-1952) Fowler were the occupants. Percy, a banker, came to Victoria from England in 1892. He married Kate Cooley Wolfenden (1878-1972), daughter of Richard and Kate Wolfenden (140 Government St, James Bay), in Victoria in 1900. They divorced about 20 years later, and Percy married Agnes in Nelson in 1920.

Charles Joseph Vancouver (1873-1941) and Marguerite Ethel (1872-1946) Spratt (548 Lotbinière Av, Rockland) lived here in 1931. Eion MacGregor and Margaret MacBrayne lived here in 1933-34. Doris, widow of Rowland Paul Hills (1863-1931), lived here in the late-1930s.

Arthur John (1877-1955) and Kitty Louise (Jolly) Daniels (1871-1949, 601 Raynor Av, Vic West) rented this house 1941-43 for $48 a month, because it had a large music room where their daughter Maquinna could give piano lessons. They gave it up when Maquinna joined the RCAF, and the family moved to 94 Linden Av. The Daniels came to Victoria from England in 1907. Arthur worked at Yarrows Shipyard for 42 years, retiring as foreman and docking superintendent in 1949.

H.E. Tomlin converted the house to six suites in 1943. Albert Spencer (1888-1967) was the proprietor and a resident until 1960. He came to Canada from England in 1911 and to Victoria in 1927. He was a telephone installer for BC Tel until retiring in 1953. His wife was Annie Emily Potter (1889-1983). Retirees Henry George (1876-1967) and Ella Mabel (Eckholdt) Dimsdale (1878-1961) lived here for about 15 years until they died. Henry was born in Ontario, Ella in Rochester, MN. Henry was a civil engineer for 40 years, retired in 1936 and they came to Victoria in 1940. Mary (Smith) Trimble (1887-1957) lived here for about 10 years. Mary was born in Ingersoll, ON. She came to Victoria from Edmonton in the late 1930s with her husband Leo Vincent Trimble, an HBC personnel superintendent, who died in 1943 at 55. Florence Charlotte (Keen) Backler (1882-1966) lived here until 1952. She came to Victoria from England in 1914. Her husband Capt Leonard Backler (1863-1944) served with the Royal Navy on various ships until retiring in 1913.


• Map of Victoria's Heritage Register Properties

• Rockland History

• Rockland Heritage Register

• This Old House, Victoria's Heritage Neighbourhoods,
Volume Three: Rockland, Burnside, Harris Green,
Hillside-Quadra, North Park & Oaklands

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