Old Ottawa South has the privilege of having been the neighbourhood of choice of a most prolific architect of Ottawa during the 20th century. While the designer of the Old Fire Hall No.10 Werner Edgar Noffke (1878-1964) may be better known, his contemporary Cecil Burgess (1888-1956) left behind a legacy just as bountiful and diverse as his fellow professional and rival.
The stately house at 698 Echo Drive has a very significant history that relates to both the City of Ottawa and the Old Ottawa South neighbourhood. For most of the 20th century, it was associated with the owners of the Story Lumber Company, the Doran Construction Company and the Coulter Pharmacies Company.
In the 19th century, George Hay, a Sparks Street hardware store owner who eventually became the President of the Bank of Ottawa, owned most of the triangular-shaped block on Echo Drive between Riverdale Avenue and Bank Street. Upon his death in 1910, his estate was sub-divided into 23 huge lots by S.E. Farley, Ontario land surveyor. The first lot to be purchased in 1912, the one immediately east of his home at 700 Echo Drive was by John A. Story, a well-known lumber merchant.