Heritage Register
Victoria West

1020 Catherine Street
Cherry Cottage; Montview

Built 1899
Heritage-Designated 1977

For: John & Letty Cherry

1020 Catherine


This residence is a landmark in the neighbourhood, dominating its corner location. It is a solid middle-class, two-storey Queen Anne style house, with its hipped roof and three cross-gabled, two-storey pedimented bays. It has a wide shingled beltcourse which divides the upper and lower storeys. The recessed corner front porch has square, chamfered posts, decorative brackets, spindled frieze, and turned balusters. A small balcony sits above the porch. Originally there was a small tower on the left above the upper balcony, as seen in the 1899 photo (see cover). This, the second house on the property, was built for $2,000. The first house, 1014 Catherine St, was small, assessed at $200 and built for Letty Ann Cherry in 1891.


1899-1906: Letty Ann Cherry (b. Chatham, ON, 1868-1933) came to Victoria with her parents Alfred and Mary Ann Oldershaw in 1875 (715 Catherine St). In 1888 Letty married John Wesley Wilson Cherry (b. Bowmanville, ON, 1865-1948). They were living on this corner lot by 1891, possibly in a shack until the first house was built. John’s sister Mattie was a live-in housekeeper to Harry Brackman (1004 Catherine St).

John, an upholsterer, had a shop at 41 Fort St in 1888-89, Cherry & Creech, with Henry “Harry” Creech. They had both worked for J. Weiler. Cherry & Creech declared bankruptcy in December 1889, and John went back to Weiler Brothers, furniture, crockery, glassware and cutlery manufacturers, from 1890-1909. He then had his own business again until retiring in 1933. [Note: By 1901 Harry Creech was in Cumberland when he married Caroline Mellado. Her parents Bruno and Mary Ann eloped in August 1871 and were issued the first marriage certificate in the newly established province of British Columbia in the Dominion of Canada.]

John and Letty’s offspring: Frank Howard (1889-) married Laverne M. McHardie in 1912; they moved to Detroit, MI, where Frank was foreman of a production line at Packard Motor Co. Sadie Emiline (1891-1972) married merchant Lawrence Hodge McLaren in 1914. Alfred Ernest drowned aged 19 in 1913 in Esquimalt Lagoon. Roy Manuel was accidently shot aged 15 in 1913. John Duncan died of pneumonia in 1901 before his first birthday. Lola Mae (1903-2003) married electrician Charles Archibald Wrixon Rossiter in 1924; she died aged 101 in Nanaimo. John and Letty had a Chinese servant, Say Lee. They moved to 716 Wilson St, then Lampson St, and finally 961 Esquimalt Rd until their deaths. John married Mary Smith after Letty died.


1906-10: Martin A. Hoover, who lived in Winnipeg, owned it as rental property. James W. Gidley (303 Mary St, Vic West) was Hoover’s agent for the plumbing in 1909.

Tenants: 1908: Widower Andrew Bryden, a mine manager from 1880-1920, and his four children. Andrew and his wife Annie were born in Scotland, and brought their family to Canada in 1887 from Australia, where their eldest child Eliza J. was born in 1887.
: Mining engineer and prospector John Harvey and Arabella Jane Bentley came to Canada from England and India in 1895 and 1892. Their first children were born in Montreal but they were in Victoria by 1897 when their third was born. Three sons served in WWI: Frank Harvey joined in 1915, George William in 1916, and John Andrew in 1918. Frank and his sister Arabella Violet both married siblings of Caroline Mellado, who married Harry Creech (see above). John Sr. accidently shot himself in the head and died.

Owners: 1911-24: Peter J. Pearson (b. Sweden, 1873-1936) and Lillian (née May, b. Redwing, MN, 1883) came to Canada c.1882 and 1899. In 1914 Peter worked for Vancouver Island Farm Lands Co as a real estate agent; by 1920 he was a lumber dealer. Living with them in 1911 were their three children and Lillian’s mother Annie May who came to Canada with her.
: E&N locomotive engineer Philip “Leonard” and Mildred May Hawke married in Victoria in 1914. Leonard’s older brother Richard Curnow Hawke, a BCER fireman, lived with them. Leonard and Mildred lived at 117 Wildwood St (Gonzales) from 1928-c.1941.
: Annie Ellis, widow of Charles Henry Ellis, who died in 1925 after a fall from a building.

1933-34: Lumber dealer Peter Pearson again, with his daughters, Gwendolyn and Mildred Irene with her husband John Herman Erb, a shipper with Victoria Phoenix Brewery. [Note: John’s grandfather Ludwig (Louis) Erb in 1870 bought the Victoria Brewing Co which in 1893 merged with Phoenix.]
: DND civilian cook Allan Kenneth Ferrier and his wife Marian Elizabeth.
: CPO Joseph Leopold Courville, RCN, and his wife Florence May married in Oak Bay in 1928. Joseph later worked in maintenance for BC Packers. Florence lived at 1109 Catherine St in 1943 while Joe was on active service.

1942-44: Mrs Lenna Moorman. 1948: BC government janitor John and Muriel Wilgenhof triplexed the house.

1970s-2000: The exterior was meticulously restored, except for the tower, by electrical engineer Donald Wells, who won a Hallmark Society Award in 1978. The photo showing the tower was only discovered after Don’s death.


• Map of Victoria's Heritage Register Properties

• Vic West History

• Vic West Heritage Register

• This Old House, Victoria's Heritage Neighbourhoods,
Volume One: Fernwood & Victoria West

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