Description of Historic Place
The Roe Residence is an early-twentieth-century Foursquare style residence, two-and-one-half storeys in height with a full basement, situated on a prominent street corner in Moody Centre on a portion of its original grounds, with a view of the sea and mountains. Set on a rising slope on the south side of the street, the house stands taller than any of the surrounding buildings and is a visual and symbolic landmark.
The Roe Residence is significant as a community landmark, and as a record of the early years of the development of Port Moody. At the time of construction, this was the grandest, most expensive house in the city. Built in 1910, the house and its setting demonstrate the social, cultural, and aesthetic values of a wealthy businessman and his family in the early twentieth century - values such as appreciation of architectural elegance, scenic views, and grand interior spaces with detailing and finishes of the highest quality.
The house is valued for its association with Edinburgh-born Perry Douglas Roe (1863-1926), the first mayor of Port Moody and a partner with his brother-in-law, Robert Abernethy, in the Roe and Abernethy Ltd. Sawmill. Abernethy built an almost identical house one block to the east, but it was destroyed by fire circa 1912. Roe played a pivotal role in the early development of the city, and his social prominence and aspirations are demonstrated by the size and scale of his residence and its grand interior spaces. The Roe Residence was both a comfortable family home for Perry Roe, his wife, Williamina, and their family, and also a glamorous stage for gatherings of Port Moody's elite. Painted thistles on the bevelled glass panels flanking the front entry door symbolize Roe's Scottish ancestry.
Additionally, the house is valued for its architectural expression. An imposing design in the then fashionable Foursquare style, it demonstrates the typical elements of the Classical Revival influences of the Edwardian era, including symmetrical massing and simple but elegant detailing. Unlike many urban examples of the style, the house was not constrained by a narrow lot, and has an expansive floor plan with fully articulated side facades, a generous wraparound verandah facing the view and projecting corner window bays. Capped by a pyramidal bellcast hip roof, this is one of the finest examples in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia of the Foursquare style.
The Roe Residence is also significant as an early surviving residential design by prominent architect, Joseph H. Bowman (1864-1943). This was one of the only architect-designed homes in the city at the time, demonstrating Roe's desire for quality and distinction within his community. Significantly, Bowman was later chosen to design Port Moody's first City Hall when Roe became Mayor.
The building's historic and aesthetic value to the community was recognized when it was one of the first three buildings in Port Moody that were designated as municipal heritage sites in 1978, demonstrating an early commitment to heritage conservation.
Source: Heritage Planning Files, City of Port Moody
Key elements that define the heritage character of the Roe Residence include its:
- prominent corner location in a garden setting at a highly visible location
- complex cubic form, symmetrical in massing and detailing, set on a high basement
- bellcast hip roof with symmetrical bellcast hip dormers
- Foursquare style design, as exemplified by the symmetrical massing, composed and balanced facades, and axial floor plan
- emphasis on the grand scale through features such as the large wrap around verandah, paired and tripled Classical Revival turned columns and projecting second floor corner window bays
- original exterior features such as lapped wooden siding and window trim
- double-hung wooden-sash 1-over-1 windows
- entry door with bevelled glass sidelights, with painted thistles on the glass
- original interior features such as the three fireplaces, oak floors and wooden detailing, including a central staircase, door and window trim and a colonnade with two turned wooden columns
- landscape features such as mature trees, perimeter plantings, Ottley Creek that flows through the grounds, and a commemorative stone marker with brass interpretive plaque