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Owens House

2000 37th Avenue, Vernon, British Columbia, Canada

Formally Recognized: 2000/02/21

Historic image of Owens House; Greater Vernon Museum & Archives photo #6432, 1910
Front elevation, 1910
Owens House; City of Vernon, 2010
Oblique view looking southeast, 2009
No Image

Other Name(s)

Owens House
Barclay House
J. Owens House
Miss Le Gallais' School

Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2010/05/20

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Owens House is a two-storey Edwardian Colonial Revival house located in the Hillhead subdivision on the East Hill in Vernon.

Heritage Value

Built in 1909, the Owens House is valued as an excellent example of Edwardian Classical Revival architecture. The early 1900s marked the beginning of the Edwardian era and a new interest in Classical Revival styles emerged with the new age. More symmetrical designs replaced the Victorian architecture with its complex asymmetry and varieties of materials. Many of these designs came from the United States, where there was a renewed interest in Colonial Revival styles. This variant, which has a Foursquare shape and a low-pitched bellcast hipped roof, was a prevalent urban style in British Columbia from 1900 to around 1911 and was particularly popular in Vancouver. The Owens House takes the Foursquare form and embellishes it with Colonial Revival details. These are evident in the highly symmetrical form of the house with its full-width porch with central entrance, above which are placed a second-storey porch and attic dormer. The front door with sidelights, the paired windows in the dormers and upstairs porch, and the use of narrow board siding are also Colonial Revival elements.

The Owens House is also valued for its association with the social history of Vernon. Under the second owners, Mrs. Maud Barkley (from 1918 to 1921), the house was used as classrooms for St. Michael's School, a private girls school. Maud Le Gallais founded St. Michaels School in 1913 and became the school’s first principal. The school also used rooms in the Lefroy house across the street. The school was associated with the Anglican Church and drew girls from throughout the Interior and the Coast. Active until the 1940's, the school was an important social and educational institution in the Okanagan. In 1921, a new school was built on the East Hill. The Hon. Walter Nichol, Lieutenant-Governor of British Columbia, laid the cornerstone. Miss Topham Brown, who began as the housekeeper and games mistress and later became the art teacher, lived in a suite upstairs in the Owens house. As a founding member of the Vernon Public Art Gallery, one of the galleries is named after her.

Source: City of Vernon Planning Department

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Owens House include its:
- two-storey Foursquare or 'classic box' scale and massing of the house
- hipped roof with bellcast eaves
- wide roof overhang with modillions
- fenestration including paired windows
- entrance with sidelights
- hipped dormers
- full-width porch with round columns
- cladding of narrow boards



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (BC)

Recognition Statute

Local Government Act, s.954

Recognition Type

Community Heritage Register

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design
Building Social and Community Life
Education and Social Well-Being

Function - Category and Type



Special or Training School
Single Dwelling

Architect / Designer




Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Vernon Planning Department

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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