Heritage Register
Victoria West

917 Catherine Street (ex-909 Catherine St)

Built 1908

For: Arthur & Margaret Walter

Architect: attributed to A. Maxwell Muir
Builder: Wiliam M. Ross

917 Catherine


This house is almost identical to the three adjacent houses, which mainly differ in their entry porch roofs: 917 and 929 Catherine St have bellcast gables, while 923 Catherine St and 235 Langford St are hipped. All four houses share the single storey and hipped roof of the Edwardian Cottage, with several attractive features. Their shallow bellcast roofs have narrow eaves with moulded cornices over wide friezes. The entry porches with their square pillars and pilasters are flanked by cantilevered box bays with heavy, well-proportioned window casings. The stair balustrades are stepped. There are also box bays on the right sides. A. Maxwell Muir signed the plumbing permits as agent for owner for 923 and 929. The building plans have all disappeared, so it is not known if Muir was also the architect of the other houses. The builder, William McK. Ross, was a Victoria City alderman who lived at 719 Esquimalt Rd, then 613 Wilson St.


The Walters, pioneer farmers from Salt Spring Island, bought two lots on Catherine St in 1906 from Alice Sarah Painter (née Jones, b. ENG, 1860-1945) and built four houses as rental properties (see 923 Catherine St for history of the Walters). Alice’s husband was James Edward Painter (b. Birmingham, ENG, 1860-1935) of J.E. Painter & Son, dealers in wood and coal, truck and dray work. They lived in Mereidale at 646 Pine St, 502 Craigflower Rd at Pine St and 735 Selkirk Av from 1891, for decades.


Tenants: 1911-13: Bachelor George Kearsley, Chief Engineer of SS Princess Ena which was launched by the BCCSS in 1907. 1914: Thomas Archer, labourer, his son Thomas Jr, a driver, and Mrs Alice J. Archer. 1915-17: Harold “Ernest” Ashton was a partner in the plumbing and heating firm Ashton & Farrow.

: Hostler Alfred Hodnett (b. New Bandon, NB, 1854-1928) and Eva Russell (née Ewart, b. Ontario 1859-1929) were married by 1890, when son Carl “Delmar” was born. Alfred came to Victoria before 1881 with his father William, a carpenter, and brother Alexander. Alexander drowned while working with a survey party in Nitinat Sound. Alfred had various jobs: proprietor of the Brunswick Hotel, a stone cutter, a furniture packer and janitor for both Weiler Bros, Furniture Manufacturers and Jacob Sehl’s BC Furniture Co, and a labourer. Eva worked as a tailor at home and with T.W. Walker in Trounce Alley.

Delmar was an E&N brakeman, a Victoria policeman, from 1925-35, an Esquimalt police officer, and a garage mechanic. In 1916 he married Evelyn Helen Wither. Their 18-month-old son Donald Ewart Hodnett was killed when he ran out of their front gate and was struck by a streetcar on Esquimalt Rd in 1924.

1927: Painter and decorator Charles Edward and Marion Louise Rivers married in 1922. In 1923-24 they had lived at 1201-03 and 1209 Yukon St, Fernwood, with Charles’s brothers. 1930: Theodore and Ethel Sorenson, who then moved to 929 Catherine St.

1936-46: The widow Isabella St. Amand (née Prior, 1887-1972) and her son Leonard James Clifford (b. Newsham, ENG, 1905-1982), a stonemason. Isabella Prior married Edward James Clifford in England but divorced him. She came to BC in 1906 and in 1929 married George St. Amand, a shingle sawyer. Following St. Amand’s death Isabella married Archibald Holmes (b. Victoria 1891-1955). Archie was a stationary engineer at Horton Cedar Co, shingle manufacturers, at its Point Ellice plant on Esquimalt Rd. Isabella was living in Esquimalt with her son Leonard and his wife Doris Eveline at the time of her death.

Owners: 1947-64: Carl Harvey and Catherine Milne Trowsdale (b. Victoria, PEI, 1900-1959); he was a crane operator for Yarrows Shipyard.


• 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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