First Crowell House
Natural Heritage House
Thomas E. Crowell House
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The First Crowell House is a two-storey Queen Anne Revival house located on the east side of 27th Street.
The First Crowell House, built in 1893, is notable as a rare, intact, and finely-detailed example of High Victorian architecture in the spindlework Queen Anne Revival style. The form of the building is a hipped roof, wood-frame building with a dominant off-centre front-facing gable. The exterior is finished with drop siding. The house features a variety of original Queen Anne Revival details, including turned porch rails, spindlework, decorative bargeboards, and an Eastlake sunburst design in the front gable. This version of Queen Anne Revival was popularized in the United States in the 1880s. The basic form was asymmetrical, with a dominant front gable and a hipped roof behind. A variety of surface materials was preferred, to mimic medieval precedents. On wooden buildings, this would include a mixture of siding and shingles, often in decorative patterns. This house has fish-scale shingles in the front gable end, to provide a contrast to the drop siding. Spindlework details, such as beading, lace-like brackets, and turned porch rails are also evident, echoing the furniture designs of Charles Eastlake.
The house is valued for its association with T.E. Crowell, one of Vernon’s earliest and most prolific builders. He formed a partnership with W.F. Cameron, a contractor and builder, in 1891, his first important commission being the Kalamalka Hotel, followed by the Park School in 1893. He was the contractor for the Jacques store in 1894, the Smith house in 1907, the new Canadian Pacific Railway Station in 1911, the first Vernon City Hall, and undertook projects elsewhere in the Okanagan, including the Enderby and Armstrong Schools, and the Royal Anne Hotel in Kelowna.
This modest home, built for his own occupancy, represents the beginning of his career and provides a contrast to his substantial brick home built further up the East Hill in 1910. Crowell played an active part in civic life, serving as an alderman, as a member of the Board of Trade and the Fire Brigade, of which he was chief from 1898-1912.
The First Crowell House is further valued for its association with the evolution of building on 27th Street. In 1910, the house was moved from its original site to make way for the new courthouse. Fifteen years later, it was bought by the Catholic Church to serve as a rectory for the nearby St. James Catholic Church, a use which continued until 1952. The house, rehabilitated into a science store in the early 1990s, is now a law office.
Source: City of Vernon Planning Department
Key elements that define the heritage character of the First Crowell House include its:
- location of the house on the upper side of East Hill
- Queen Anne Revival form and massing, with its dominant front-facing gable and hipped roof behind
- original double-hung windows
- architectural details, including drop siding, fish-scale shingles, sunburst design in gable end, and spindlework
- bay window in south elevation
Local Governments (BC)
Local Government Act, s.967
Theme - Category and Type
- Building Social and Community Life
- Religious Institutions
- Peopling the Land
Function - Category and Type
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Office or Office Building
- Religion, Ritual and Funeral
- Religious Institution
- Commerce / Commercial Services
- Shop or Wholesale Establishment
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
City of Vernon Planning Department
Cross-Reference to Collection