Description of Historic Place
The splendid Paterson-Matheson House, with its elaborate Eastlake-style decoration, is a prominent feature in a residential neighbourhood west of Brandon's downtown business core. The 1893 brick-veneer structure, with its large 1904 addition, occupies a narrow corner lot in an area that retains its heritage character. The provincial designation applies to the 2 1/2-storey dwelling and its site.
The Paterson/Matheson House is one of Manitoba's finest late nineteenth century houses, a rare example of a Queen Anne Revival design with Eastlake detailing, and good illustration of a brick-veneer dwelling turned into something quite extraordinary through the use of ornamental details. Built for prominent Brandon businessman George A Paterson, the building's decorative elements, such as gingerbread trim, turned posts and spindle work, as well as its corner location and long yard make the house a distinctive local landmark. A magnificent stained-glass window entitled "Listening," designed by noted Winnipeg artist John Allward, is a unique feature of the dwelling's rich interior.
Source: Manitoba Heritage Council Minutes, May 23, 1984
Key elements that define the heritage character of the site include:
- placement of the house on a narrow grassed corner lot with the front (south) elevation facing Louise Avenue and the west elevation facing 11th Street in Brandon
- the orientation of the L-shaped corner verandah and tower balcony to the street intersection
Key elements of the Queen Anne Revival design and Eastlake detailing that make the Paterson-Matheson House a local landmark include:
- the asymmetrical form of the 1893 structure, with elements such as the complex hip roof with steep cross-gable roofs; the angled front verandah and tower balcony with a conical roof at the southwest corner; the two-storey gabled bay on the west facade; etc.
- the 1904 north addition with a steep cross-gable roof, gabled dormers on two sides and a two-storey gabled bay in the northwest corner
- the abundance of wooden Eastlake ornamentation, including the elaborately turned posts, ball spindles, curved brackets and spindle work in the verandah, the circular tower balcony with turned posts, the tower finials, ornate gingerbread trim with semi-circular decorations within the gables, etc.
- the number and variety of windows, including tall rectangular openings with arched heads and decorative keystones on all four elevations and small rectangular openings in the dormer and gable ends
- the variety of materials and details, including the light red-brown brick wall surfaces, limestone window sills, a stringcourse that wraps around the structure's second floor, tall brick chimneys with chimney caps, etc.
Key elements of the dwelling's rich interior character include:
- the spacious expanded layout, based on a side-hall plan, with large living and dining rooms, kitchen, den and small sitting room on the main floor and a grand open staircase to the second-floor hallway and bedrooms
- the richly detailed oak staircase, with a fine curved balustrade and the Allward stained-glass window in an oak casing on the second-floor landing
- elaborate fireplaces in walnut or oak surrounds, each with tile inlay and mirrored overmantels, in the sitting room, den and second-floor hall
- fine stained-glass windows in the dining and sitting rooms, leaded-glass openings in the living room and den and a small coloured-glass window under the main staircase
- many original features, including classically detailed, dark-stained oak door and window casings with elaborate heads, high oak baseboards, oak pocket doors in the hall between the living and dining rooms, free-standing carved Corinthian columns that flank the sitting room doorways, the oak front and second-floor doors with oval windows of bevelled glass, oak flooring at the front entrance, maple floors in the dining room, hall and den, etc.