Recently on March 1st, as a Saint David's Day tribute, the Bytown Museum posted an historic photo of the Lewis Williams family. Lewis Williams came from Wales in 1817 and settled along the Rideau River in then Nepean Township; the heritage-designated Williams house still stands at 96 Southern Drive, in Old Ottawa South.
Designed in 1920 by prominent Ottawa architect Werner Ernst Noffke, No. 10 Graham Station, is an elaborate Spanish-Colonial style building named in honour of Ottawa Fire Chief John W. Graham, who served that post from 1910 to 1921.
Cameron Avenue east of Bank Street came alive with the sound of bagpipes this past Friday evening. A wine pairing fundraising event was hosted by Linda Hancock (OSCA Past President) and her husband, Mazen Soubra. About 60 guests were piped in by members of the Ottawa Caledonian Pipes & Drums group. The bagpipes were a fitting tribute to Robertson House, Linda & Mazen’s home, which is 130 years old this year. Robertson House is one of the heritage designated buildings in Old Ottawa South.
32 Cameron Avenue
This 1 1/2-storey brick veneer structure was built around 1887 in the then-rural area south of Ottawa. The pitched roof, double-gabled façade, ornate verge boards, and one-storey veranda with its extensive woodwork and central gable are all of architectural interest. The chinoiserie pattern of the railings reveals the handiwork of a proficient local carpenter, but many of the other decorative elements – ranging from the eight-pointed stars in the verge board to the dentils and spindles on the upper part of the veranda – were all manufactured by machine in local planning mills, and could be ordered from design books or catalogues. The L-plan of this house and the asymmetrical façade reflect the ultimate triumph of the romantic sensibility over the Georgian symmetry that had lingered in the Ottawa area.
1074 Bank Street
The exterior of the Mayfair Theatre faces Bank Street with a three-story brick façade topped by a centrally-located, free-standing curvilinear Spanish Colonial Revival gable. The upper two thirds of the façade constitute a primarily blank, windowless surface with very limited decorative features. These include patterned brickwork and small square artificial cut-stone inlays defining the corners of rectangular brick frames articulating the facade. The building’s lower third opens up along the street level through the theatre’s entry doors as well as the storefront window of a barber shop located to their right. Another store originally flanked the entry doors from the left, but was later incorporated into the theatre.
260 Sunnyside Avenue
The elaborate Spanish Revival style tells us at a glance that this building was designed by Werner Ernst Noffke (1878 – 1964), one of Ottawa’s best-known architects of the early 20th century. It is also the third-oldest surviving structure built as a fire station in the city. Its construction in 1921 reflected the southward growth of the city and came at a transitional time in the evolution of firefighting technology. As built, it accommodated both horse-drawn and motorized equipment, with the stables for the horses located underneath. Instead of the traditional hose drying tower, this fire hall had a hose drying room in the basement.
View of driveway leading to house entrance (Kathy Krywicki, 2008)
700 Echo Drive
This 2 1/2 storey stone house represents a transition from stolid Georgian symmetry to a more Romantic sensibility in the Ottawa area. It was built for Colonel George Hay, a prominent hardware merchant and president of the Bank of Ottawa. Tradition has it that, while serving as one of the city’s first aldermen, Hay suggested that Bytown be renamed Ottawa. Further, it was in this very house that Hay is said to have designed the city’s first coat of arms.
There are many properties of historical interest in the neighbourhood. Here are a few key spots in Old Ottawa South.
The Ottawa South History Project received some fantastic news in early March 2009: the City of Ottawa is awarding $6,000 toward our Heritage Survey project allowing us to hire a student this summer to conduct the detailed research and field work from May through August 2009. Now we need residents of Old Ottawa South to step forward as volunteers to assist with project activities, or as donors to help complete the fundraising.
What is the Heritage Survey project?