Nels Johnson Residence

10274 River Road
Delta, BC

Built: 1929

Set back far from the corner of River Road and Centre Street in North Delta, the Johnson Residence is a one-storey, side-gabled Craftsman bungalow with a front-gabled projecting porch, a shed-roof porch on the north elevation and a flat-roofed extension to the south. This modest house features twin-bevelled wooden siding with twin-coursed shingles at the foundation level.

Status: The house was demolished to make way for the South Fraser Perimeter
Road also known as Highway 17.

Nels Johnson Residence - 2008
click photo to enlarge

Heritage Value

The Johnson Residence dates from 1929, and represents a time when Delta was developing rapidly due to booming agricultural, canning and fishing industries. Salmon fishing and processing were integral to Delta's early development. The earliest salmon canneries were built along North Delta's Strait of Georgia 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. The expansive growth of the Scandinavian community left a distinct mark on the social landscape of North Delta, including the establishment of a school in Sunbury in 1897, another in Annieville in 1906, the first Trinity Norwegian Lutheran Church at Norum Point in 1904, and a local post office in 1901. The first owner of this house was Nels Johnson, who purchased the property in 1921 and had this house built in 1929. The Johnson family retained ownership of the house until 1947.

With its wood-frame construction and modest detailing, the Johnson Residence is also significant for its Craftsman architecture that reflects the style of other contemporaneous houses in the area. It features a side-gabled roof and a front projecting porch, with tapered columns and triangular eave brackets. The use of modest Craftsman-inspired details demonstrates the late and persistent influence of this style on local housing stock, even after the end of World War One.

Character-Defining Elements

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

  • corner location on a sloping lot at Centre Street and River Road in North Delta
  • generous setback from the front property line, raising the house above the street level
  • residential form, scale and massing, as expressed by its one-storey height, partial basement, side-gabled roof with front-gabled projecting porch, and shed-roof porch on the north elevation
  • wood-frame construction, including cornerboards, horizontal twin-bevelled wooden siding and twin-coursed shingles at the foundation level
  • modest Craftsman details, such as triangular eave brackets, exposed rafter tails and tapered front porch piers
  • internal and external red-brick chimneys
  • windows such as one-over-one double-hung wooden-sash windows, in single, double and multiple assembly
  • original multi-paned glazed front door
  • associated landscape features, such as a large grassed yard and mature holly and fig trees