Description of Historic Place
The Khartum Temple (J.H. Ashdown House) is a three-storey mansion completed in 1913 that overlooks the Assiniboine River from one of Winnipeg's prestigious streets, Wellington Crescent. The City of Winnipeg designation applies to the building on its footprint and the following interior elements: all ground-floor interior finishes, the central stairway, stained-glass windows and interior finishes on hallways on the second and third floors.
The Khartum Temple (J.H. Ashdown House) is a highly significant building, an important example of the kind of grand domestic architecture employed by the wealthy of the day, set on what is still one of Winnipeg's most desirable thoroughfares, and connected to one of the most influential local businesspeople from the turn of the twentieth century, when the city experienced phenomenal growth. The building, a Tudor Revival-style mansion designed by J.H.G. Russell, was the last, and the only surviving, of three grand houses that J.H. Ashdown, an entrepreneur and politician, built over the course of the five decades during which he established a hardware wholesale and retail empire that stretched across Western Canada. After the Ashdown family left the home in the mid-1950s, the mansion retained landmark status and much of its physical integrity as the clubhouse of the Shriners, a philanthropic organization which supported a children's rehabilitation hospital nearby.
Source: City of Winnipeg Council Meeting Minute, October 19, 1983
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Khartum Temple (J.H. Ashdown House) site include:
- its prominent location, near the intersection of two major streets, Wellington Crescent and Academy Road, with historic and visual connections to St. Mary's Academy, Shaarey Zedek Synagogue and other grand period homes in the vicinity
- the placement of the house toward the rear of the site, marked by mature trees on the south bank of the Assiniboine River
- on the northwest corner close to the house a compatibly finished, two-storey garage and chauffeur's quarters
Key elements that define the exterior character and Tudor Revival style of the mansion include:
- the large three-storey form with a symmetrical front, a two-tiered sunroom wing beneath a shed roof on the south side and a limestone porte-cochere on the north side
- the complex, steeply pitched, cross-gable roof covered with distinctive green tiles, and with gable ends on all sides, a front gable dormer, a south shed dormer and three tall stone chimneys
- the many windows, mostly tall rectangular lintelled openings with stone sills and, in some cases, stone quoins; some set singly, others in pairs, threes or fours, including a large four-part bow window on the south-side dining room; also, segmental-arched openings in the raised stone basement
- the main entrance centred between projecting front gables under an open gabled front porch accessed by a stone staircase
- the fine materials and Tudor Revival details, including walls finished in rusticated Manitoba limestone, gable ends clad in faux half-timbering and stucco infill, heavy wood and stone brackets under the front gables, ornamented bargeboards and pendants, foil cutouts above the bow window, etc.
Key elements that define the interior heritage character of the mansion include:
- the layout, based on spacious centre halls that lead to a wide staircase and generous rooms squared off from the halls
- the extensive use of dark polished wood trim and panelling throughout, particularly in the halls, stairway, dining room and library, including beamed ceilings, a feature wall of wood and glass in the dining room, built-in library bookshelves with leaded-glass doors, etc.
- features such as the many fireplaces, particularly in the library and parlour, with deeply carved wood mantels, the large stained-glass windows on the main staircase landings, the Ashdown family's grandfather clock in the first-floor hall, etc.