Photo Credit: Dennis Tokarsky
5550 BLENHEIM St, Vancouver BC
5550 Blenheim St. is a Craftsman-style home with a classic wrap-around veranda, supported by square pillars. Prior to 1912, this section of Blenheim Street was known as Johnson Road.
Permits appear to have been obtained in 1912 to build this home, valued at $5,000. The home was built by its original owner, John Carter, who lived here until 1936. John initially worked as a postmaster, and later as a realtor for Kerrisdale Realty and Kerr Pioneer Brokerage. In 1922, John added a garage to the property. Three years later in 1925, permits indicate that John built another house on the same land valued at $4,000 with architect and builder J.B. Stirling. This may have been an addition or renovation as the character and style of the existing home is indicative of a pre-1920s home.
While Kerrisdale is now full of single-family homes, in 1912 when this house was built, it would have been one of only a few residences in the area and surrounded by farmland. This house is located about a block from what is now Crofton House School. Back in 1912, the Crofton House property was called “Edgewood” and was owned by Alvo von Alvensleben who lived there from 1910 to 1914. Alvensleben’s Canadian properties were seized at the beginning of World War I due to the resulting backlash against Germans.
Kerrisdale has seen shifting patterns of settlement and immigration. The area is the traditional territory of the Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh First Nations who have inhabited the Fraser River estuary and adjacent lands for thousands of years. The Irish McCleery family were the first European settlers arriving in 1867. Their homestead and farm are now the site of McCleery Golf Course. Kerrisdale was a major hub for railway and streetcar routes which prompted more development and establishment of the Kerrisdale Village shopping area. The last 30 years have seen the arrival of immigrants from Hong Kong and China and the 2016 Statistics Canada Census indicated that over 35 per cent of Kerrisdale residents speak Mandarin or Cantonese as their first language.