Tore Nicolich Residence

4126 River Road West
Delta, BC

Built: 1906

The Nicolich Residence is a one and one-half storey wood-frame vernacular residence, located on a prominent corner lot in a low-density residential, waterfront urban area of Delta. It is located across the street from the dyke system.

Status: Still Standing

Nicolich Residence - 2004
click photo to enlarge

Heritage Value

The Nicolich Residence is of heritage value as an example of vernacular style architecture dating from the turn of the nineteenth century. Simple in design and restrained in decoration, and lacking stylistic pretension, this house is notable for the high degree of integrity of its original elements.

Additionally, the Nicolich Residence illustrates early residential development along the Fraser River waterfront that was driven by the cannery and fishing industries and is a valuable legacy of Delta's resource-based origins. This house was part of the Port Guichon settlement, which developed as a distinct neighbourhood to the west of Ladner village. Port Guichon provided workers' housing for the industries located here, near the terminus of a railway and a busy shipping wharf. Over time the small fishing and farming village was transformed into a busy industrial hub. This house was likely built at or before the time of the 1906 subdivision of the Wellington Farm property to accommodate the growing population in the area.

Furthermore, this house reflects the early ethnic settlement of Delta. During the late 1800s, many Croatians had left their homeland due to political and economic unrest; some were traders and sailors who found their way along the Pacific Coast to the mouth of the Fraser River. A number settled in the Port Guichon area, near the busy canneries once located there. As their homeland had been part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, this area became known locally as "Austrian Town." This home was owned for many years by Tore Nicolich, a Croatian fisherman.

Character-Defining Elements

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

  • location, close to the street on a corner lot, across from the dyke that runs along the south bank of the Fraser River
  • residential form, scale and massing expressed by its one and one-half storey plus basement height and symmetrical, rectangular plan with rear lean-to extension
  • side-gabled roof with broken-pitch at rear with closed eaves and bargeboard trim
  • wood-frame construction as expressed by its wooden drop siding and cornerboards, cedar shingle siding at the foundation level and simple window and door surround trim with cornice and sills
  • regular fenestration: fixed 4-paned windows in basement, double-hung 2-over-2 wooden-sash windows with horns on the first storey; and double-hung 1-over-1 wooden-sash windows at the attic level
  • additional exterior elements such as the beltcourse between the basement and first storey, front entry porch with hipped roof and glazed and panelled wooden front door