Description of Historic Place
The Kelly House, built in 1882, is a two-storey brick veneer dwelling with gingerbread trim set amid turn-of-the-twentieth-century warehouses just west of Winnipeg's historic Exchange District. The City of Winnipeg designation applies to the building on its footprint.
The Kelly House, a substantial structure combining Italianate and Gothic Revival features and details, exemplifies the type of comfortable pre-1900 housing erected on the periphery of downtown Winnipeg before rapid commercial growth began to encroach on residential neighbourhoods. Intricate bargeboards and fine brick detailing, the dwelling's most striking features, showcase the craft of its builder and first occupant, Michael Kelly, co-founder of Kelly Brothers and Co., a leading early construction and brick-making enterprise. Typical of the fate of much downtown housing, the Kelly House became a rental property in the mid-1890s, owned by Michael and/or his brother Thomas and later by a succession of other parties. Less typically, the well-built structure survived intact while nearby dwellings were displaced by warehouse redevelopment. The house, which retains several of its notable features, now stands as an important representation of Victorian-era domesticity in the city centre.
Source: City of Winnipeg Committee on Environment Minutes, June 7, 1982
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Kelly House site include:
- the location on the west side of Adelaide Street between McDermot and Bannatyne avenues, surrounded by heavy masonry warehouses
- the building's placement on the lot with modest front, side and rear yard space
Key exterior elements that define the dwelling's eclectic Italianate and Gothic Revival influences include:
- the asymmetrical but balanced two-storey massing with various vertical indentations and projections, including front (east), south and west pavilions, a front bay window and a recessed front entrance
- the wood-frame construction with walls of red brick veneer and a stone foundation
- the varied, moderately pitched roofline with hipped and gabled sections
- the generous pavilion fenestration composed of pairs of tall, narrow, rectangular openings with segmental-arched heads, supplemented by irregularly spaced windows of similar design on other sides
- the main entrance featuring a wooden door with glass panel, transom and sidelights and a small overhang; also, the west door with a segmental-arched head of radiating brick voussoirs
- the exceptionally well-detailed wooden bargeboards in the front and south gable ends
- the fine brickwork, including front quoins, arched front and south window heads with interconnected drip-moulding, etc.
- the modest additional details, such as the bay window's roof brackets, the tall narrow chimney with decorative brickwork, etc.
Key internal elements that define the building's domestic function include:
- the formal side-hall plan encompassing a large main-floor living room, dining room and kitchen, all with high ceilings, and upper-storey bedrooms
- the curving staircase with a well-crafted newel post, shaped wooden banister, turned balusters and wooden string with decorative scrollwork
- the finishes, including the wooden wainscotting (dining room and upstairs bathroom), high baseboards, wide window surrounds and doors with transoms, the bedroom archways, etc.
- the bedroom for domestic help, set off a rear second-floor landing three steps lower than the other bedrooms, with access via a narrow winding staircase directly to the kitchen
- features such as the pull-down attic staircase, etc.