The building at 1872 Parker Street, on the south west corner of Victoria Drive, is a fine example of the Queen Anne style popular in the Grandview neighbourhood. It was built in 1909, probably for George N. Jordan, a realtor who lived there until 1916. The house is known locally as Brookhouse, named for a printer and editor, Arthur A. Brookhouse, who owned the house and lived there with his family from 1927 until his death in 1947. The following image is from 1932.
After the war, the house was converted into a rooming house and remained so until the last tenants left this summer (2012). A few days ago, the final tenant opened the house to friends for a final goodbye, and invited members of the Grandview Heritage Group to visit and document the interior of this important heritage building. The following are notes from some of our members and a range of photographs taken during the visit.
Reviewing the complex floor plans sketched by Michael Kluckner, it was noted that it “demonstrates how poorly a Queen Anne like this converts into anything but a communal house. There was no possibility of discrete access to different parts of the place, thus no possibility of subdivision into suites.”
The original grandeur of the house is best expressed in the details that remain in the ground floor living rooms, including multiple leaded windows, a grand fireplace and classically decorated columns.
The second-floor bathroom was fascinating, with what appeared to be original fixtures…
. and the original hand-painted wallpaper.
“The house mechanicals are interesting – to see what looks to be an original heating system still in reasonable condition, original electrical and old/original bathroom fixtures. Normally the radiators have been painted over the year, the plumbing fixtures modernized and at least the light switches replaced.
Some of the plumbing may be newer (toilet tank in main is 1930’s replacement) but in keeping. If the gas range is from early days at Brookhouse, it must have run on producer gas (coal gas) and I would have thought they may have had gas fireplaces as well since I have seen some in the city but could see no evidence here.”
“Added to my list of interesting things is the fact that such a big house had only one chimney. This was obviously a house designed for central heating — not a surprise there, but it is unusual not to have more fireplaces. The old gas range is a real curiosity.”
The house is run-down these days. It appears to have suffered many years without maintenance …
…however, it is still full of small details that are worthwhile seeing. We can only hope that some, at least, of these wonderful heritage details are retained in the upcoming re-development plans.
Contributions from: Jak King, Michael Kluckner, Bruce Mcdonald, Eric Philips, Egon Simons, Penny Street,