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First Crowell House

2805 27th Street, Vernon, British Columbia, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1991/02/26

First Crowell House; Greater Vernon Museum and Archive photo #19771, no date
Front elevation, ca. 1980
Historic view of First Crowell House; Greater Vernon Museum and Archive photo #1876, 1910
View of house during move, 1910
First Crowell House; City of Vernon, 2010
Oblique view of front elevation, 2009

Other Name(s)

First Crowell House
Hanna Residence
Natural Heritage House
Thomas E. Crowell House

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2010/05/20

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The First Crowell House is a two-storey Queen Anne Revival house located on the east side of 27th Street.

Heritage Value

The First Crowell House, built in 1893, is notable as a rare, intact, and finely-detailed example of High Victorian architecture in the spindlework Queen Anne Revival style. The form of the building is a hipped roof, wood-frame building with a dominant off-centre front-facing gable. The exterior is finished with drop siding. The house features a variety of original Queen Anne Revival details, including turned porch rails, spindlework, decorative bargeboards, and an Eastlake sunburst design in the front gable. This version of Queen Anne Revival was popularized in the United States in the 1880s. The basic form was asymmetrical, with a dominant front gable and a hipped roof behind. A variety of surface materials was preferred, to mimic medieval precedents. On wooden buildings, this would include a mixture of siding and shingles, often in decorative patterns. This house has fish-scale shingles in the front gable end, to provide a contrast to the drop siding. Spindlework details, such as beading, lace-like brackets, and turned porch rails are also evident, echoing the furniture designs of Charles Eastlake.

The house is valued for its association with T.E. Crowell, one of Vernon’s earliest and most prolific builders. He formed a partnership with W.F. Cameron, a contractor and builder, in 1891, his first important commission being the Kalamalka Hotel, followed by the Park School in 1893. He was the contractor for the Jacques store in 1894, the Smith house in 1907, the new Canadian Pacific Railway Station in 1911, the first Vernon City Hall, and undertook projects elsewhere in the Okanagan, including the Enderby and Armstrong Schools, and the Royal Anne Hotel in Kelowna.

This modest home, built for his own occupancy, represents the beginning of his career and provides a contrast to his substantial brick home built further up the East Hill in 1910. Crowell played an active part in civic life, serving as an alderman, as a member of the Board of Trade and the Fire Brigade, of which he was chief from 1898-1912.

The First Crowell House is further valued for its association with the evolution of building on 27th Street. In 1910, the house was moved from its original site to make way for the new courthouse. Fifteen years later, it was bought by the Catholic Church to serve as a rectory for the nearby St. James Catholic Church, a use which continued until 1952. The house, rehabilitated into a science store in the early 1990s, is now a law office.

Source: City of Vernon Planning Department

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the First Crowell House include its:
- location of the house on the upper side of East Hill
- Queen Anne Revival form and massing, with its dominant front-facing gable and hipped roof behind
- original double-hung windows
- architectural details, including drop siding, fish-scale shingles, sunburst design in gable end, and spindlework
- bay window in south elevation



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (BC)

Recognition Statute

Local Government Act, s.967

Recognition Type

Heritage Designation

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Building Social and Community Life
Religious Institutions
Peopling the Land

Function - Category and Type


Commerce / Commercial Services
Office or Office Building


Religion, Ritual and Funeral
Religious Institution
Commerce / Commercial Services
Shop or Wholesale Establishment
Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer



T.E. Crowell

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Vernon Planning Department

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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