Heritage Register
Victoria West

502 Catherine Street

Built 1892
Heritage-Designated 1986

For: Lewis & Sophia Hall

502 Catherine


This two-storey house, similar to Gayrileen at 322 Catherine St, is recognizable as Italianate by its narrowness and its vertical lines. The house has a shallow hipped roof. There is a pedimented two storey bay on the left front with a wrap-around second storey balcony on the right. An attractive staircase leads up to an entry porch that wraps around the right side of the house, decorated with brackets and spindles. There is a one-storey box bay on the left side. It has a fieldstone foundation and sits on a narrow city lot on a hillside corner. The house is covered with asbestos siding and was duplexed in 1951.

A tender call for a two-storey frame house for Lewis Hall was listed in the VDC 5 Oct 1892. The paper reported the cost to build as $2500 on 3 Jan 1893.


1892-1940: Dr. Lewis Hall (b. Uttoxeter, Staffs, ENG, 1860-1933) and Sophia M. Cummings (b. Hamilton, ON, 1862-1940) married in Victoria in 1889. Lewis’s family came to Ottawa in 1862; they farmed at Russell, ON, then moved to Chemainus, BC, in 1876. Hall tried his hand at farming and lumbering; then in 1886 enrolled in the Philadelphia College of Dental Surgery. He finished in 1888, practised briefly in Oakville, ON, then established his office in Victoria in 1888. His specialty was dental surgery and porcelain work.

Lewis was on the Victoria School Board from 1896-1904, an alderman in 1906-07, and Mayor in 1908-09. He was influential in using wood paving blocks for downtown streets, and signed the first contract for the ornamental cluster lights in 1909. He had financial interests in the Prudential Co, Canada-West Co, Albion Trust Co, the Victoria Steam Laundry and The Bakeries, Ltd on William St in Vic West. In 1892 he established the Central Drug Store under the name of Hall & Co, and was store manager for two years before selling his shares. He was involved in the Victoria Board of Trade and president of the Liberal Association for several years. A member of AF&AM, Oddfellows, Foresters, and Sons of England, Lewis still found time to fish, hunt and play checkers. A member of the Victoria West Methodist Church, he taught a Bible Class for 15 years. Lewis died after two years of illness, and was given a Masonic burial. The Victoria Daily Times reported: “Throughout the day, the flag was flown at half-mast over the City Hall, where the deceased formerly held office as mayor, alderman and school trustee.”

Sophia was raised on a farm in Wentworth Co, ON. She came to Victoria c.1885 with her widowed mother, Sophie Cummings Lafferty (1838-1913), who lived with the Halls from the time of their marriage until her death. Sophia Hall, an accomplished musician, was the organist for 21 years at First Presbyterian Church. She lived in her Catherine St home until her death.

Lewis’s brother William Benjamin Hall and niece Edith Maria Hall lived with them in 1901. Their live-in servant was Charlotte “Maud” Bittancourt, daughter of Eugene and Catherine Whittier, who ran the Constance Cove Dairy Farm in Esquimalt. Maud’s sister Eva Kemp lived at 715 Catherine St in 1907. By 1911 Lewis’s sister Elizabeth, real estate agent Robert Morrison and Sophie’s brother Harvey (1850-1929), a retired grain merchant, were all boarding with them. Harvey lived with them until his death

1941-50: Electrician John Henry Newman (1913-1985) and Jean Haxton (née Smith, b.1915) were born in Victoria and married in 1932. Jean’s parents James, a bricklayer, and Isabella Smith lived at 510 Catherine St from 1932 to the mid-1950s. John Newman worked for BCCSS in the late 1940s.


• Vic West History

• Vic West Heritage Register

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

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