David and Anne Leary Residence

4847 Georgia Street
Delta, BC

Built: 1891-92

The Leary residence is very well known. Built im 1891-92 for Robert Moffit, a blacksmith, it is one of the oldest survivng houses from the original Ladner townsite.

Status: Still Standing

Leary Residence - 1915
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Moffit had arrived in 1891 and made his home initially at the Delta Hotel. The following year, 1892, he married Margaret Ott, sister of Ursula Ott who married George Baker. As a matter of interest, in 1901 there were five adults and three children living in this small house. Where did they put everybody? The Moffits left Ladner for Chilliwack in 1904, but they continued to own the house, no doubt renting it out.

David Leary, a member of a family active in the fish cannery business, and his wife, Anne, bought the house in 1910 and lived here with their family until 1954. There were two daughters, Francis Munn from Mrs Leary's first marriage, and Mabel.

The house was nexted owned by Vernon (Ted) Taylor who had operated a harness and shoe repair business on 48th Avenue in earlier decades. His daughter inherited the property in 1962 and sold it in 1968. Several owner followed, but since 1971 it has been in the hands of Charles Birt and Ted Erickson. For their work in restoring this house on enviable condition, Birt and Erickson were honoured by the Delta Heritage Society with an award in 1982.

The house, as remembered by the Learys' daughter, had two bedrooms upstairs as well as one downstairs. On the main floor was also the dining room, kitchen, living room and pantry. There was no indoor bathroom or electricity until 1920. Heat was supplied only by a heater in the living room. fueled by wood, then coal. Needless to say, the upstairs bedrooms must have been frigid in winter.

A concrete foundation was added in 1932, the work of Mr A. Swan, which has no doubt helped to ensure the house's survival. No so fortunate was the row of dogwood trees planted on the boulevard by Mrs Leary; they are long gone.

What we see today is the attractive result possible when property owners committed to retaining a heritage building are willing to put time, energy, and money into its restoration. this house is unique in this community and the owners are well deserving of the award.

Anyone interested in applying architectural labels to houses will have an interesting time with this one. The awards committee of the Delta Heritage Society referred to the style as "Victorian with the eclectic collection of stylistic devices that overlap the 'Queen Anne' and 'Stick' styles."