Alfred and Adda Wintemute (1889) and William and Elizabeth Innes (1898)

NWHPS 2018 Homes Tour Wintemute/Innes House 506 St. George photo credit" Paul Fuoco

photo credit: Paul Fuoco

This is a tale of one house on two lots. A Victorian-style workers’ cottage, it was built in 1889 on a lot at 516 St. George Street and moved to its current site by William and Elizabeth Ennis around 1907.

Style elements:  Some Victorian cottage features remain, but the house has undergone significant alterations, possibly when it was moved to its present location.

Architectural Significance:  The house originally was one of many small inexpensive workers’ cottages built in the area before the turn of the century. With ongoing renovations, it’s now a spacious family home that continues to showcase some of its original features, blended with sympathetic modern updates.

What to look for:  The house evokes an interesting blend of Victorian and Arts & Crafts styles. The hallway, dining room and main floor bedrooms (now a den and a bathroom) reflect its early 1880s Victorian style, which can be seen in the home’s original millwork.  The 1910 expansion shows less elaborate millwork is in the front room.  The main floor bathroom was formerly a bedroom – the original bathroom was at the back of the house with the original horse stable underneath.

First Homeowners: Some questions surround the identity of this home’s first occupant, thought to be the Wintemutes, who may have been tenants to either father Joseph or uncle John – ownership is unclear. Alfred was listed as a “boot and shoe dealer” on Columbia Street. William Innes, a local mill worker and later a builder, was listed as the owner/occupant in 1898.  He likely moved the house around 1907.  His two daughters, Alice and Edith McCormack (a widow) lived in the house until they died in the 1980s.

Both families suffered loss in WWI. One of the Wintemute’s sons, Henry Lansing, and Elizabeth Innes’ nephew, Charles E. Clapp, both died in the Great War. Look for more information about these two young men at the house.

Wintemute House, with its combination of old and new, is a fascinating look at how buildings are adapted through time to fit the needs of new owners and families. Making its debut on the homes tour, 506 St. George is one of this year’s most interesting stops.

The Whole Story

Step back in time: Jamie Neilson’s home on St. George Street. Photo: Kevin Hill, The New West Record

See Theresa McManus’ May 24 story in the New West Record: https://bit.ly/2GML4yH

Looking at an archival photo of 506 St. George Street in 1910, compared to how it looks today, it may be difficult to believe that it is  the original 1889 house that’s still standing. But a closer look at the house then and now shows that they are in fact the same home – an example of how old buildings can be transformed through the years to remain as viable places to live today, rather than demolished.

The current owners – who purchased the home in 1992 –  have continued the evolution and transformation of 506 St. George Street. They lifted the house in 1998 and set it on a new foundation (when purchased, the basement was still only a dirt floor with extremely low ceilings, accessed from outside, inhabited by uninvited wildlife and supported on unstable wood posts; the owners said when the washing machine was turned on the whole house would wobble!) They added a full basement to accommodate their young family , building new inside basement stairs under the staircase to the charming top floor. Upstairs are two bedrooms, a small bathroom and an office, much of it  finished in original tongue-and-groove wood walls with painted fir floors. The tiny original kitchen, renovated by the previous owner, was expanded and updated by the current owners in 2005 by incorporating an outside porch area, transforming the room into the spacious and bright room you will see on tour.

These  renovations indicate the biggest changes at 506 St. George have occurred recently – but nothing can be further  from the truth.

Recent research shows this Victorian cottage began its life on a lot three doors west of its present location and it remains as the oldest house on the street.  Built in 1889, it was home to Alfred and Adda Wintemute, who had married in 1886.  Alfred was the son of city pioneers Joseph and Jane Wintemute who operated Wintemute’s Furniture Factory located on Columbia Street.  Alfred, trained as a carpenter, had tried to escape the family business by operating a boot and shoe store, but later returned to the family business.  This cottage was likely built by Alfred for his family who called it home until moving to a larger house in 1898.

The cottage was then sold to William Innes, a mill hand at the Royal City Planning Mills.  In 1907, Innes decided to move the cottage from its former location to this site to allow the move of another house to its former location at 516 St. George Street (since demolished).  Innes moved in with his family and the cottage was later renovated with a new rear wing, while the front of the house was extended to provide an expanded second floor and new front porch.

Due to this major alteration, the house showcases an interesting blend of original Victorian millwork and later renovations. Note how the hallway, dining room and former main floor bedrooms reflect its Victorian roots, illustrated in features such as the V-joint wainscotting, panelled doors, elaborate baseboards and window mouldings. Less elaborate millwork is in the front parlour and archway that separates the space from the dining room, which reflects its expansion after 1910.

There was a horse stable attached to the rear of the house at the turn of the century and the current owners report they found several horseshoes buried in the back walls when renovating. A small bathroom was above the horse stable with a shed roof above, since removed.

The house, with its combination of old and new, is a fascinating look at how buildings are adapted through time to fit the needs of new owners and families. The first time on tour, 506 St. George is one of the this year’s most interesting stops.

New West Heritage Preservation Society - 2018 Heritage Home Tour Sponsor - Circa RestorationsThank you to our sponsor:  Circa Restorations Inc. – Master Home Renovator Graham Sievers is truly a jack of all trades, whether your renovation or restoration needs are big or small. From master carpenter to expert tiler, from pulling permits to designing kitchens, he does it all professionally and precisely, including a complete restoration of the 1905 Queen Anne cottage he shares with his wife and daughters. Contact Graham at 778-323-6142  |  info@circarestorations.com