Description of Historic Place
McBeth House, a 2 1/2-storey brick dwelling erected in 1912-13, is situated on the west side of the Red River in the former municipality of Old Kildonan, now a north Winnipeg suburb. The City of Winnipeg designation applies to the building on its footprint.
McBeth House is a commanding and exemplary early twentieth-century upper-class home tied to the roots of European settlement in Manitoba through Lord Selkirk's Red River Colony. The McBeth name has been associated with the colony's Kildonan community almost from its outset, with Alexander McBeath (later McBeth) and his descendents continuously occupying their river lot for some 170 years beginning in the late 1810s. The initial generations farmed the land, eventually adding a small store and other businesses to the enterprise. As they prospered, Alexander's grandson, Robert McBeth Jr., born on the property in 1848, was able to build this dignified brick house just metres from the family's 1852 log home. The subdued, Edwardian-style structure, designed by Winnipeg contractor W.W. Cross, elegant in its proportions, well lit and appointed with fine interior woodwork, now functions as a seniors' centre.
Source: City of Winnipeg Committee on Environment Minutes, June 3, 1985
Key elements that define the heritage character of the McBeth House site include:
- its location near the west bank of the Red River in Winnipeg's Old Kildonan district, with mature trees and sprawling grassed grounds (McBeth Park) sloping down through a forest to the water
Key elements that define the residence's reserved Edwardian-style architecture include:
- the rectangular 2 1/2-storey massing enlivened by undulating facades of red pressed brick on a rusticated rubble-stone foundation, with a looming hip roof and gable dormers on each side
- the projections, including the two-storey west bay, the one-storey west and east bays, the wraparound verandah at the southeast corner, the northwest corner's double-height dining/sleeping porch, etc.
- the rectangular windows of varying sizes throughout, with smooth-cut limestone sills and corner blocks, soldier-coursed brick surrounds and lintels, and many with multi-paned top lights, etc.
- the segmental-arched dormer openings, each containing three lights with wooden mullions and casings painted to contrast with the brick
- the details, including gable ends with wooden shingles, bracketed eaves, smooth-cut limestone belt courses, brick chimneys, etc.
Key elements that define the house's generous interior layout, finishes and details include:
- the intact configurations organized around a formal central-hall plan
- the lavish main-floor common rooms with oak woodwork throughout, including an entrance vestibule with built-in closets; a hall with a tile fireplace; an office with built-in bookshelves; a large living room with an Adamesque-style fireplace, French doors and grand pocket doors; the dining room's quarter-cut oak panelling, tile fireplace with oak mantel and recessed hutch; etc.
- the main curved return staircase with a simple wooden balustrade and closet underneath, and a rear service staircase similarly detailed
- the private upstairs rooms, including bedrooms with doors fitted with full-length mirrors and large closets with built-in shelves, woodwork finished in white enamel, etc.
- the abundant details and finishes, including plank floors, transomed doors, deep coving in the attic, etc.