Ellis Street Cottage
127 Ellis Street, Penticton, British Columbia, Canada
Links and documents
Listed on the Canadian Register:
Statement of Significance
Description of Historic Place
The Ellis Street cottage is a small vernacular wood-frame house located adjacent to Penticton Creek and close to the site of the CPR wharf on Okanagan Lake in Penticton, British Columbia. The site comprises the cottage and the triangular lot on which it sits.
This simple side-gabled vernacular cottage was one of the earliest substantial residences built on the Penticton flats adjacent to Okanagan Lake, and is quite possibly the oldest surviving house in Penticton. It was constructed prior to 1900 as it was assessed during 1899 for the 1900 Assessment Roll, the oldest currently known for Penticton, and shown as being owned by H. E. Walker at that time. It was originally surrounded by a white picket fence and had a closed-in verandah which was removed by 1958.
The location of the cottage on Ellis Street is important as a remnant of the earliest townsite laid out by Thomas Ellis in 1892 on the east side of Penticton Creek, with Ellis Street developing a mixed use of businesses and residences. The cottage's location, on what was originally the end of Victoria Avenue, a lost street from the original survey, reminds us of the original Ellis townsite. The Ellis Street area is reminiscent of the commercial activity around the CPR wharf where goods were transported between the lake boats and wagons to the Fairview Road. The mixed uses on Ellis Street at the time the cottage was constructed provided support to nearby hotels, liveries, stores and services to traveling merchants and miners. While a few businesses sprung up on Ellis Street, within four years the commercial core moved west across Penticton Creek to Front Street, and subsequently to Main Street.
The cottage is also valued for its association with L.C. Barnes, who owned it in 1901. He is representative of the migration of settlers from the failing townsite of Fairview to the growing townsite of Penticton. His contributions to Penticton's early years include being a member of the first Penticton City Council, being the second owner of the well known livery stable eventually known as Welby's and owning a general store on Ellis Street. Thus the house reflects the close interaction between Penticton and the mining town of Fairview in the early years of the 20th century. It is also a testament to the early days of townsite settlement, when people lived in close proximity to their places of work.
The cottage then passed through many owners and tenants, including black and Chinese tenants who worked in the industries and services nearby, including a steam laundry next door. This rich history of working class occupants and ethnic minorities gives this site important cultural value to the community and reflects the change in the land use of Ellis Street, as the commercial district moved first to Front Street and then to Main Street.
SOURCE: City of Penticton Civic File
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Ellis Street Cottage include its:
-location facing Ellis Street and backing onto Penticton Creek
-proximity to the former CPR wharf and the original bridge over Penticton Creek
-original drop siding cladding and double hung windows
-pine stumps above the windows that were used as ceiling joists for the former verandah
Local Governments (BC)
Local Government Act, s.954
Community Heritage Register
Theme - Category and Type
- Peopling the Land
Function - Category and Type
- Single Dwelling
Architect / Designer
Location of Supporting Documentation
City of Penticton Civic File
Cross-Reference to Collection