Heritage Register

2130 Ridge Road (ex-14 Ridge Rd)

Built 1893-96
Heritage-Designated 1985

For: Mary & Kelly Johnson

Builder: Kelly Johnson

2130 Ridge


This two-storey, hip-roofed Queen Anne house has a front-facing gabled bay. The flat roof left of the bay once housed a square tower with a tall bellcast hipped roof. There is a two-storey, hip-roofed box bay on the left to the rear. Sandwich brackets are a feature under all the eaves. The pedimented gable has an ornate shingle pattern in varying designs. Below the pent roof are ornamental wood panels over the flat-topped Palladian window. The panelled and bracketed cutaway bay below has V-joint T&G in the lower panels. To the left of the bay is a corner porch which has square turned posts and balusters, and a spindled frieze above arched brackets. The flat roofs of the porch and bay, which originally had cresting, have dentils and fishscale shingles under the eaves. The front door and transom have Queen Anne glass. The house is clad in drop siding, and the foundation is painted brick. Note other details on the bay, porch, and the windows, which are segmentally arched in the basement.


1890-1905: Thorkel “Kelly” Johnson (1853-1926) and Maria “Mary” Elizabeth (née Jonsdottir, 1855-1933) were born in Isafjordur, Iceland, and married in 1880. Kelly came to Canada in 1886; in 1887 Mary followed with their two children to Winnipeg and Gimli, MB. They came to Vancouver on the first train on the new national railway, then to Victoria on the SS Beaver. They were one of over 40 Icelandic families that settled in the Spring Ridge area.

Kelly built cabins on the property the first year and the main house from 1893-96. A master builder and joiner, he worked for the CPR and then for contractor George C. Mesher (154 South Turner St, James Bay). Kelly built three houses; the two on either side of 2130 are now demolished. From 1894-99 the Johnsons took in lodgers, fellow Icelanders who worked as labourers. From 1897 to 1912 Kelly worked in the Yukon gold fields. Mary, a Spiritualist rumoured to have the power to heal by touch, moved to Vancouver in 1901, and rented out the house. They moved to New Westminster in 1914. Kelly built homes in Victoria and Vancouver, and churches in Washington State.


Tenants: 1901-02: Rupert B. and May Elizabeth King came from Chicago in 1898 and in 1903 moved to Vancouver. Rupert was a commission agent and sang with a choral society. In Vancouver he was wharf foreman for Mainland Transfer Co until his death.
1906-14: Dominion fisheries inspector William Martindale Galbraith (b. Whitley, ENG, 1849-1932) and Susan Isabella came here in 1893.
Owners: 1914-27: Miss Annie Fenton (b. IRL, 1877-1951) rented it out. She came to Canada in 1911 and worked as a maid for James Dunsmuir, primarily at Hatley Park estate in Colwood. Later a dressmaker and furrier, Annie lived and worked at #2, 534 Broughton St. She retired to Vancouver two years before her death.
1927-36: BC Finance Department clerk Walter Herbert Keatinge (b. Davenport, Devon, ENG, 1867-1947) and Cecilia Silverina (née Hougan, b. Minnesota, 1877-1966).

1936-81: Edwin Crabbe (b. Lancs, ENG, 1904-1956) and Nellie Gordon (née Duncan, b. Kilmarnock, SCT, 1907-1975) married in Nanaimo in 1923 and raised seven children before divorcing in 1948. Edwin was a miner in Nanaimo, worked on ships in Victoria, and during WWII served with the RCN on HMCS David in the Mediterranean. He was a member of the 2nd Battalion Pipe Band, 16th Scottish. Edwin was a janitor at George Jay School, 1118 Princess Av, Fernwood, for 16 years until his death. His second wife, Phoebe Ruth Clark Crabbe, remained in the house.
1977: The City tried to designate the house on its new heritage register. Phoebe appealed the decision and won.

1981-82: Larry Norman Austman and Fern Katherine Hayes bought the house.
1983-87: The City purchased the property to work on underground services, designated the house as heritage and put it back into private ownership.


• Fernwood History

• Fernwood Heritage Register

• This Old House, Victoria's Heritage Neighbourhoods,
Volume One: Fernwood & Victoria West

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