Heritage Register
Victoria West

645-47 Pine Street

Built 1895-96

For: John & Sarah Jane Harper

Builder: John Harper & sons

645 Pine


This two-storey, cross-gabled Queen Anne style house has a shallow bay on the right and a deeper bay on the left. A c.1907 photo, found since the 2004 edition of this book, shows the house shortly after it was built, so we can see how the appearance has altered since then. The right and left gables are pedimented, while the front has returns on the gable ends. There is a two-storey angled bay on the front and a lower storey angled bay on the left side. There are small hipped roofs with cornice brackets over the left and upper front bays. A wrap-around, hipped verandah roof separates the upper and lower storeys. Two small windows in the upper front gable have recently been replaced with a large plate glass window; small windows have been added in the two side gables. The lower left portion of the verandah has been filled in since the 1970s. The verandah’s square chamfered posts now have turned spindles in the brackets: compare with the c.1907 photograph. The original Eastlake balustrade has been supplanted by iron railings. The crested pedimented gable on the verandah roof has been removed. Decorative shingles fill the front gable, with vertical siding in the frieze and lower portion of the upper front bay. The body of the house and the side gables are clad in drop siding. The house was duplexed in 1942.


1895-1908: Bridge carpenter John Harper (b. Kingsclear, NB, 1838-1911) and Sarah Jane (née Saunders, b. Dumfries, York Co, NB, 1851-1915). Of Irish stock, they married in New Brunswick and had nine children before coming to Victoria c.1888. Their sons: bridge carpenter Frederick William and his wife Jane lived next door in 1901. Bridge carpenter John Norris Mayes and his wife Mabel lived at 651 Pine St from 1909. Policeman James Wesley “Wes” and his wife Isabel lived nearby on McCaskill St in 1901. [Note: James and Isabel’s daughter Violet Victoria, who lived for some time with her grandparents in 645 Pine, married Charles “Horace” Shandley (51 Oswego St, James Bay) in 1925 and lived in 1939-40 at 929 Catherine St, Vic West.] Bridge carpenter Thomas “Ernest” remained single and lived in 645 in 1901. Charles Chipman doesn’t appear in Victoria directories. George Wilfred was an apprentice harnessmaker, and later a carpenter.

John and Sarah’s daughters: Dora Lillian; Effie Maud, a drygoods saleswoman in 1901, married Charles Frederick Banfield (402 Skinner St, Vic West) at St. Saviour’s Church, 310 Henry St, Vic West in 1903; their reception was at her parents’ home. Melissa Margaret attended St. Saviour’s first Sunday School above a blacksmith shop in 1888. Her family were devoted church people, and in 1951 she donated a window for her family with the Cross of St. George to St. Saviour’s for its Golden Jubilee Year. When John Harper died in 1911, he and Sarah were living with Effie and Charlie Banfield at 402 Skinner.


1909-41: John Norris Mayes Harper (1862-1949) and Mabel (née Murray, b. Fredericton, NB, 1872-1959) likely married in New Brunswick. John retired c.1930 after 39 years as a railway bridge mechanic.
1942: Duplex: VMD bandsaw operator James and Edith Gilmour; and Margaret Anne Wells, whose husband Harvey Parker Wells was on WWII active service; after the war, Harvey was a dockyard charge hand in the lumber industry.
1943: Margaret G. Broadhurst, whose husband George A. was on active service.
1943-52: Canadian Government stationary engineer Robert Strang McMillan (b. Glasgow, SCT, 1899-1980) and Olive Mildred (née Courtney, b. Coal Creek, BC, 1906-1989). They married in Nanaimo in 1923, where Robert worked in the coal mines and Olive was a housekeeper.


• Vic West History

• Vic West Heritage Register

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

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