Wednesday, December 3, 2014

54 Maryland Street,-97.1610847,3a,37.5y,291.29h,98.08t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sA9TSrmG286CbSouAn1weYQ!2e0!6m1!1e1

Place: 54 Maryland Street (Map)
Constructed: ca 1908
Contractor: unknown

According to city records, this house was built in 1907, but its address does not show up in the Henderson Directory until 1909-1910. The first owner of the property was the Denby Family.

ca. 1880, from March 14, 1934 Winnipeg Tribune

Benjamin Denby was born in England in 1855 and came to Canada at a young age, settling with his family in Newboro Ontario. He then came to Manitoba, first starting a business at Cyprus River, then moving to Winnipeg in the 1880s where he got a job with Stalker and Hutchings, a saddlery owned by partners Robert Stalker and E. F. Hutchings at 446 Main Street. Hutchings was married to Denby’s sister.  

The firm, whose roots went back to a saddle shop near Headingley in 1867, sold everything from blankets to trunks and manufactured their own saddles and harnesses that were sold throughout western Canada and the U.S.. In 1889 Hutchings, the surviving partner, turned it into a public company called Great West Saddlery with Denby as secretary treasurer, a position he held for 40 years.

August 2, 1913, Winnipeg Tribune

Great West, located on Market Avenue near Main, went on to become one of the most successful companies in Winnipeg’s early history, boasting a dozen branches as far away as Calgary and Edmonton by 1899.

Denby married Mary Jane Nicol in Winnipeg in 1884 and the couple first lived around Elgin Avenue. They had three children, son Gordon and daughters Hattie, Amy and Ella. All but Hattie lived at the Maryland house for a time. Ella became a  teacher at Laura Secord School.

The couple were prominent members of St. Andrew's Church on Elgin then, after moving, at Westminster Church.

In 1930 the Denbys retired to California. He died in 1939, she died in 1944.
Above: CPR Station (source)
Below: Subway, Main and Higgins. CPR Express to the left (source)

When the Denbys sold up, it was time for the Binnies to move in. 

At the time Alexander Binnie, 63, was wrapping up a career as a Supervisor with CPR Express, where he had worked for 20 years. CPR Express was a division of the CPR which handled money orders and courier deliveries. The office at the time would have been at Main and Higgins, next to the subway.

The couple sometimes rented out a room in their house, often to a CPR employee.

Binnie and his wife Edith were active in Young United Church and had a daughter Zella, who married and moved to Saskatoon in 1936.

Alexander died in July 1939 at Misericordia Hospital at the age of 73. A couple of years later, Edith moved out and she died in 1951 at the Sheridan Apartments on Balmoral Street.,-97.1610847,3a,37.5y,291.29h,98.08t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sA9TSrmG286CbSouAn1weYQ!2e0!6m1!1e1
Above: March 1968. Below: September 1975

After the Binnies, 54 Maryland became a rooming house. Initially, it appears that the homeowner lived on site, such as Alvira Bishop, then E and A Benvie, but then it became a revenue property. Initially, it appealed to clerks, cooks and stenographers but as the years went by, perhaps due to its proximity to the hospital, more widows and retired people called it home.

In late 2014 the city approved a plan to demolish the house to make way for the construction of a four storey building with commercial space on the main floor and eight condominiums units ranging in size from 550 to 795 square feet, above.

54 Maryland Street 2 Architecture

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