Alfred Jensen Residence

11192 River Road
Delta, BC

Built: 1912
 

The Alfred Jensen Residence is a two-storey wood-frame mansion, set back from River Road at the crest of a steep hill. It is located in the historic settlement of Annieville, with commanding views to the west over the Fraser River and Gunderson Slough. The house is distinctive for its Arts and Crafts architecture, with half-timbering in the gable ends and a wraparound verandah.

Status: Still Standing

Alfred Jensen Residence - 2008
click photo to enlarge

Heritage Value

The Alfred Jensen Residence dates from 1912, and represents the period when Delta was developing rapidly due to booming agricultural, canning and fishing industries. Salmon fishing and processing was integral to Delta's early development. The first salmon canneries were built along North Delta's Fraser River waterfront, and thrived as an industry that provided work for thousands of unemployed immigrants after the completion of the railway and the subsidence of gold rush activities. Drawn to these booming industries, Scandinavian immigrants settled in the area surrounding the canneries, in communities that came to be known as Annieville and Sunbury. By the turn of the twentieth century, Delta was home to a thriving salmon fishing community that was second only to Steveston for local canning capacity.

This residence is further valued for its ties to its original owners, Captain Alfred Jensen (1886-1953), and his wife Kristine (née Olsen, born 1895), who were married in 1913. Danish-born, Alfred Jensen immigrated to Canada in 1908. He was a master mariner and fisherman, and later became the Vice President of the Annieville Cannery. The location of his house on this prominent hillside, both visible to the cannery and with a view of its operations, symbolized Jensen’s stature and prominence in the community.

With its wood-frame construction and handsome detailing, the Alfred Jensen Residence is also significant for its richly-detailed Arts and Crafts architecture, which reflects the style of other contemporaneous houses in the area. Built by local contractor, Peter Kjellbotn, this sophisticated mansion displays asymmetrical and richly articulated façades. It is one of the very finest houses in the North Delta area, and was the recipient of a Delta Heritage Award of Merit in 2008.

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of the Alfred Jensen Residence include its:

  • siting on a high terraced lot, at the crest of a steep hill in the historic community of Annieville, with views to the west of the Fraser River and Gunderson Slough
  • residential form, scale and massing, as expressed by its two-storey height, full basement, hipped roof with multiple gable projections, and wraparound verandah with shed roof, supported by tapered square columns on tapered bases
  • wood-frame construction, with horizontal lapped wooden siding and wooden detailing
  • elements of the Arts and Crafts style, such as half-timbering and scrollcut brackets in the gable ends, triangular eave brackets, encircling beltcourses, notched bargeboards and open eaves with scrollcut exposed rafter tails
  • additional architectural details, such as second floor balconies, an internal, corbelled red-brick chimney, and glazed wooden front door assembly with sidelights and transoms
  • windows, such as double-hung, one-over-one wooden-sash windows, some in double assembly; and three-part wooden-sash casement windows with transoms
  • interior features, such as wooden floors, trim and wainscoting
  • associated landscape features, such as numerous mature trees, shrubs and plantings