617 Battery Street
(ex-20 Dallas Rd to 1907, 618/400 Dallas Rd to 1944; 629 Battery St to 1955)
For: William & Harriet Macaulay
Contractor: George C. Mesher
Designer: attributed to a Pattern Book plan
Original Garden Design: George Wilder
Pinehurst is a 2½ storey house with a roof that is gabled in front and hipped in back, cross gables on each side, and a round, conical-roofed tower on the left front corner. It is clad in drop siding on the first two levels (with the boards steamed to fit the curved surface of the tower), with shingles in the gables and third level of the tower.
The VDT of 31.12.1888 stated: “Another Palatial Residence: W.J. Macaulay, Esq., today awarded the contract for erecting a fine family residence on Dallas Rd, near Beacon Hill, to Mr. G.C. Mesher, contractor of this city...One of the great features of this fine building will be the tower on the southwest corner, which will be fourteen feet in diameter and eighty-four feet high.” The VDC, 01.08.1889 stated: “Mr. W.J. Macaulay moves to his new residence, Beacon Hill, today.” The 01.01.1890 VDC reported on buildings constructed in 1889: “J.A.(sic) Macaulay on Dallas - 2 storey residence and stable, $25,000.”
The 1891 image of the house as first built shows an austere building with Queen Anne form and massing, but with little surface decoration. It is suggestive of the Shingle Style popular at the time for seaside mansions on the American northeast coast, which would have been in keeping with the house’s original isolated siting on Dallas Rd , facing the cliffs near Victoria Point and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Later images indicate that the second owners added several features more typical of the Queen Anne style: trusses in the gables, the larger ones with a quatrefoil design; quarter-round brackets in the cornices; and a double balcony wrapping around the corner tower.
This is one of Victoria’s finest Queen Anne-style residences. The interior featured nine fireplaces with superb tilework, intricate panelling and woodwork, and several interconnecting reception rooms. The major rooms had hand painted ceilings and friezes.
1889-92: William James Macaulay (b.Sidney, Hastings Co, ON 1828-1902) and Harriet (née Keenan, b. ON 1847-1906) were married in Niles, MI, in 1868. William was involved with his father and uncle in a large lumber mill. He then spent time in the US and central Canada in real estate, lumber and banking, making a considerable fortune. He retired to Victoria in 1888, but missed the business world, so he purchased the Chemainus Mills from Robert Dunsmuir and formed the Victoria Lumber and Manufacturing Co. About 1892, the Macaulays moved away from the water to a house above Rockland Av called Highlands (1630 Rockland Av). After William’s death, Harriet moved to Seattle to be near her daughters. It is possible that William’s brother Alexander’s (d.1877) widow Adelaide (d.1892), who was Harriet’s sister, and her son Henry also lived in Pinehurst, but only William and Harriet, and their children Norman, Lily and Mary are listed here in the 1891 census. Norman and Henry bought the Victoria, Coal, Wood and Lumber Yard in 1889. From Irish Catholic stock, the Macaulays were prominent members of the St. Andrew’s Cathedral parish.
1892-1937: Dr. George and Ellen “Nellie” Milne bought Pinehurst in 1892. George was born in Garmouth, Scotland; his family came to Canada when he was six. He trained in medicine at the University of Toronto, followed two elder brothers to Victoria in 1880, and married Victoria-born Nellie Kinsman in 1882 (her sister Louise married Richard Hall, 906 Linden Av, Fairfield). A promoter of the first BC Medical Act which enabled the founding of the BC Medical Council in 1886, he served as the Council’s Registrar and Secretary, and was made its first honorary member. He promoted the founding of Royal Jubilee Hospital (1900 Fort St, Jubilee) in 1888. Milne was appointed superintendent of the French Hospital on McClure St, then City of Victoria Health Officer from 1884 until the smallpox epidemic in 1892, when he disagreed with Provincial Health Officer Dr. J.C. Davie (638 Rockland Pl, Rockland) and resigned his position. From 1904-24, Milne was medical officer and immigration agent for the Dominion Government at the Immigration building on Dallas Rd. He was made Chinese immigration controller and collected the head tax.
Milne made a fortune in real estate development, as a partner in the Vancouver Investment Co. He was president of the Electric Tramway Co (later the BCER), director of BC Fire Insurance Co, and president of BC Liberal Association. He served as a Victoria School Trustee and was elected an MPP for Victoria in 1890. He was a member of the St. Andrews and Caledonian societies, and the Royal Arch and Scottish Rite branches of the Masonic Lodge. He and Nellie were supporters of St. Andrews Presbyterian Church and after the union in 1925, of the United Church of Canada. The Milnes had a summer house, Speyside, at Beecher Bay in Metchosin. Dr. Milne died in 1933 at 82 at Pinehurst, and Nellie in 1941 at 77, at 576 Dallas where she had lived since c.1937.
1939-42: Robert Henry Percival (b.Stratford, ON 1868-1945) and Lora Carmelita (née Laurin, b.Winnipeg, MB 1882-1973) divided 618 Dallas Rd into the Pinehurst Apts. Robert worked on the railroad for over 50 years, retiring in 1959. Lora managed the apartments. Their daughter Carmen Erla, a stenographer at Active Fuel Co, lived here in 1939 and married her boss William Alexander “Alex” Schade that year. [Note: Alex was renting at 1249 Rockland Av, and their witnesses lived at Pinehurst Apts and 1715 Rockland Av, both Rockland.] The Percivals and then the Reinhards began subdividing the large property and selling off lots. By 1944 the house stood on a pan-handle lot at 629 Battery St, in the centre of the block and no longer visible from Dallas Rd after 1947.
1943-53: Walter Reinhard (b.Berne, Switzerland 1894-1959) and Mary Anne (née Scatterly, b.Aberdeenshire, SCT 1906-1991) came to Victoria from Calgary at the beginning of WWII. Mary managed the Pinehurst Apts. Walter was a waiter at the Liberty Cafe and then a restaurant proprietor until retiring six months before his death.
1954-56: Frank Jr. and Cecily B. Williams.
1956-83: Larry and Irene Lee ran it as Westpark Apartments with 13 rental units. Gradually the rest of the property was sold off and the house fell into disrepair; the conservatory, the massive two-storey verandah and balcony, and the porte cochere were demolished.
1983-2017+: Capital Regional Housing Corporation renovated Pinehurst as part of a CRD townhouse development on the remaining surrounding property. Some exterior rehabilitation was done, including the replacement of the two verandahs, with the aid of a grant from Victoria Heritage Foundation. There are now nine suites in the building.
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION & IMAGES:
• Statement of Significance (Canadian Register of Historic Places)
• James Bay History
• James Bay Heritage Register
• This Old House, Victoria's Heritage Neighbourhoods,
Volume Two: James Bay