History of a Single Story in a Neighbourhood of Two and Three

205 Crichton Street - 15 Dufferin Road, All Green Projects, Build Projects, Design Projects, Plan Projects

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Since 1945, the brick bungalow at the intersection of Crichton Street and Dufferin Road has sat unfinished.  Prior to its construction, the property at 205 Crichton Street was a vacant lot, that had remained undeveloped since the establishment of New Edinburgh.

VERT plan.design.build Construction of the building at 205 Crichton street was begun by Leonard Boehmer in 1945.  Leonard Boehmer was an Ottawa contractor and son of August Boehmer, a successful middle class businessman of considerable importance in the City’s early German and Lutheran community.  August Boehmer was the builder of a number of significant buildings in Ottawa, including St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and other homes on Crichton Street in New Edinburgh.  Mr. Boehmer and his wife, Bertha Kropp, had seven children; while the first two died in infancy the others were Frederick, Leonard, Herbert, Albert and Martha.  August Boehmer lived and worked from his property at 282 Crichton Street until his death in 1937.

The original architectural plans for the building (circa 1945) illustrate the intention of the developer to create a multi-unit residential building, including separate dwellings in the basement, on the first and on the second floors, as well as a multi-story garage and breezeway, with basement below and covered balcony above.  The existing structure does not include a second floor as per the original plans.  The Boehmer family explained that due to a lack of material and labour created by the Second World War, only 3’ of the second floor was built before a flat roof was added and construction was terminated.

According to City Directories, both the basement unit and the first floor unit were occupied by 1947.   The second wife of Leonard Boehmer (the home’s builder) lived at 205 Crichton Street for over 40 years before selling the home in 2011.  Mrs. Boehmer is now 99 years old and resides at the Garry J. Armstrong Home on Porter Island, in a room with a view of the property.  (Her son Ted Mathesius and his wife Bev live in the home on the adjoining property at 201 Crichton Street.)  Since the sale of the home in 2011, the two residential units at 205 Crichton Street have been operated as rental units.

Over the course of the last quarter century, some notable deterioration and alteration of the original structure has occurred.  Prior to 1997 the original front porch was rebuilt with decorative metal supports under a gabled roof.  In late 1997 the original flat roof over the building was replaced with a mansard-style roof.  All original exterior windows and doors have been replaced with the exception of a period wood panelled front door with large glazing, side lights and transom light.  The original brick veneer (over concrete block walls) remains intact.

An individual Statement of Cultural Heritage Value is not available for the property.  (One would be available if the building was deemed historically significant and designated under Part 4 of the Ontario Heritage Act.)  Ottawa’s Heritage Survey and Evaluation Form describes the building as an “average example” of post war vernacular design that is “moderately compatible” with neighbouring heritage buildings and that acts as a “modest contributor to [the] heritage residential character of New Edinburgh”.

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