Description of Historic Place
The Ferguson House is located in the Port Mann neighbourhood of Surrey, British Columbia. It is a one-and-one-half storey wood-frame Craftsman residence with a side-gabled roof, a hipped-roof front porch, and horizontally banded siding. This historic place includes the house and property with mature trees. The house has a mountain view to the north.
The Ferguson House is significant for its association with the original speculative development of the Port Mann neighbourhood in Surrey. Port Mann was the site of a small fishing settlement, known as Bon Accord, which included a landing where Fraser River steamboats refuelled. In 1891, the New Westminster Southern Railway established a stop in Bon Accord. In 1911 the name of the settlement was changed to Port Mann, when Sir Donald Mann and Sir William MacKenzie decided to establish the western terminus of the Canadian Northern Railway there. Built circa 1913, the Ferguson House was part of one of the first groups of workers' cottages to be constructed in the neighbourhood as the land was developed in anticipation of the establishment of the nearby terminus. The expected real estate boom fuelled speculation in Port Mann, and beginning in 1912, four million dollars worth of land was sold before any land was cleared for construction. Grandiose development plans for Port Mann failed to materialize after the Canadian Northern Railway eventually decided to terminate their line in Vancouver, although extensive rail yards and warehouses were built in Port Mann.
The Ferguson House is valued for its history of ownership that is typical of the optimistic development that occurred in the Port Mann neighbourhood at the time of its construction. The Fraser River Land Company Limited owned the Ferguson House from 1913 to 1915, when the site was acquired by the Canadian Northern Town Properties Company and National Trust Company Limited. These companies owned the property until 1917, when George and Alfred Bradshaw purchased it and the adjacent property. Peter Ferguson, a farmer, then owned the house until 1927. The history of occupancy and ownership of the Ferguson House echoes the history of the Port Mann neighbourhood itself, as it moved from its anticipated status as a bustling planned company city to a community left disconnected from the rest of the Lower Mainland. Originally assuming that the area would prosper, companies bought land and built houses in anticipation of the many people to come. However, when the development stalled, these companies became eager to unload the houses, selling them quickly for a reduced price.
The Ferguson House is also valued for its modest Craftsman style architecture. The Craftsman style was typified by rational space planning, the use of natural materials and a mix of traditional design elements inspired by the Arts and Crafts movement, such as sloping rooflines, triangular brackets and a rich textural contrast of siding and shingles; the Ferguson House includes many of these typical features. The Craftsman style was popularized through countless periodicals and plan books, expressing both the traditional aspects of the Arts and Crafts movement as well as modern lifestyles.
Tall, mature trees, including red cedar and catalpa, surround the house. These, and the view of the mountains to the north as well as expansive views down the hill to the west, are valued for providing a picturesque setting for the Ferguson House.
Source: City of Surrey, Planning Files
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Ferguson House include its:
- setting on a corner lot within the suburban Port Mann neighbourhood, with views to the north of the North Shore Mountains and to the west along the upward slope of 113A Avenue
- location on one of the first parcels of land to be developed in the neighbourhood, in association with a similar house on the adjacent lot
- continuous residential use
- residential form, scale and massing, as expressed by its one-and-one-half storey height, full basement, side-gabled roof with hipped-roof front porch supported by square columns with closed balustrades, shed roof dormers to the front and rear, hipped-roof kitchen extension to rear, and concrete foundation
- Craftsman style details such as triangular eave brackets in the gable ends, cedar shingle siding in the gable ends, on the dormers and triple-coursed at the foundation level, lapped wooden siding with cornerboards on the main body of the house, exposed rafter tails, and pointed bargeboards
- internal red brick chimney
- original windows including four-over-one double-hung wooden sash windows, nine-paned wooden sash casements in the dormers, four-paned wooden sash windows in the attic and basement, and diamond-mullioned fixed stairwell window
- interior features such as lath-and-plaster walls, original wooden floors and doors, an Arts and Crafts fireplace faced with glazed brick and tile, cast-iron hot-water radiators, and 1930s kitchen cabinets with Art Deco hinges and hardware
- original landscape features including tall mature trees such as red cedar and catalpa