Description of Historic Place
The Harry E. Guppy House is located on the corner of Victoria Avenue and Pine Street, in downtown Windsor. This two-and-a-half storey dwelling is an excellent and well-preserved example of a Tudor Revival style home. It features ornamental half-timbering, asymmetrical massing, and a mix of materials including cast-stone trim, brick, and stucco.
The heritage value of the house is recognized by the City of Windsor By-law 340-2001.
Harry E. Guppy was active in both the business and civic communities in Windsor. His prominence in the community is reflected in the home and neighbourhood in which he lived. The Harry E. Guppy house is a fine example of a Tudor Revival style home, and is representative of the types of homes built on Victoria Avenue in the early decades of the twentieth century.
The stately Tudor Revival style home was built for Harry Egbert Guppy in 1928. Guppy was a prominent Windsor businessman who organized independent grocers into the Red and White chain, which numbered some eighty-seven stores, in Essex County, by 1927. At the time, the H. E. Guppy Co. Ltd. was one of the largest wholesale grocers west of Toronto. Guppy was very active in civic affairs as well. He served on the public Board of Education for nearly twenty years, and at times was the chairman. He was instrumental in the establishment of vocational education in Windsor and in the construction of Windsor Vocational School (the former W.D. Lowe). He was also instrumental in implementing the system of rotating students in order to take advantage of teachers' specializations. In 1931, for his commitment and devotion to education, the school board named a new high school after him (now Catholic Central).
The Harry E. Guppy House is illustrative of the fine residential homes being developed along Victoria Avenue for prominent Windsor citizens in the early decades of the twentieth century. It is a two-and-a-half storey Tudor Revival style home, which is readily identified by its ornamental half-timbering applied over stucco cladding. It also features asymmetrical massing and prominent gable ends, typical of the Tudor Revival style. It was constructed using a mix of materials, including stucco, red brick, and cast-stone.
The homes located on Victoria Avenue in downtown Windsor are among some of Windsor's finest heritage homes. From the onset of development, Victoria Avenue was intended to be a gracious, residential street. Buyers of the original lots were restricted to a minimum setback of twenty feet, a house value of no less than $3,000, and a promise that no building would be used for commercial purposes. The earliest homes were built for the area's most influential and respected families between 1890 and 1929. Homes built during that time display diverse designs, quality materials and fine workmanship. The Harry E. Guppy home is representative of the fine homes built on Victoria Avenue between 1890 and 1929, and is a reminder of Windsor's prosperous past.
Sources: Building Analysis Form, March 2001; Designation Report, March 30, 2001; City of Windsor By-law 340-2001, September 24, 2001; Victoria Avenue Walking Tour, Windsor Heritage Committee, November 2004.
Character defining elements that add to the heritage value of the Harry E. Guppy House include its:
- two-and-a-half storey structure
- red brick construction with ornamental half-timbering applied over stucco cladding
- asymmetrical massing
- central hip roof with gable roofed ells on the east and south elevations
- prominent gables and complex roof forms
- red brick and cast-stone ornamentation on the ground floor
- carved bargeboard and wooden keys
- bay windows with leaded glass upper panes
- six-over-one grouped windows
- location on Victoria Ave.
- location within the planned residential neighbourhood